Building Blocks for Enhanced Road Safety in Pacific Island Countries

June 02, 2022

Pacific Island Countries (PICs) are among the countries with highest rates of road crash fatalities in the world, despite their low population. However, there are many reasons to believe that the numbers in these countries are significantly underreported. Road crashes are currently resulting in high costs to already strained national economies. This indicates the scale and significance of the road safety problem for PICs’ communities.  

Through its call for proposals, the GRSF awarded a grant funded by UK Aid to review the management capacity of three selected Pacific Island Countries – Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. The main objective of this grant was to gain a holistic and thorough understanding of the road safety management capacity of each of the selected countries, in order to support their respective governments to develop national strategies and plans of action to improve road safety outcomes, with a focus on crash data management. In addition, the grant supported a pilot on the World Bank’s “Data for Road Incident Visualization, Evaluation, and Reporting” (DRIVER) in Samoa, together with providing hands on capacity building on road safety evidence-based measures and crash investigation. 

Lessons learned from this grant activity are being shared with other PICs facing similar challenges and traffic conditions. 



Ideas in action


Activities for the grant Road Safety Management Capacity Assessments with Emphasis on Crash Data Systems in Selected Pacific Island Countries: Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu took place between June 2019 and October 2021.

A team of international road safety experts conducted on-site and virtual missions for the Road Safety Management Capacity Reviews (RSMCR) in each of the three selected countries - Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. The reviews undertaken follow the seven critical road safety institutional management functions, including: results focus; coordination; legislation; finance and resource allocation; promotion and advocacy; monitoring and evaluation, and research and development of knowledge transfer, to identify key challenges and provide recommendations for improvement. In addition, each review included an in-depth analysis of crash data collection and management. Government officials, after providing their feedback, confirmed and accepted the reports and agreed to apply the findings and recommendations in their road safety work. Findings from these assessments are expected to inform ongoing and planned World Bank or other Multilateral Development Banks investments in the three countries, and also inform the Asia-Pacific Road Safety Observatory.

Aside from the delivery of the Road Safety Management Capacity Reviews, a 2-day tailored workshop on road safety evidence-based measures was delivered for each country. In these learning events, road and transport authorities, police, national road safety agencies, and other stakeholders were introduced to the Safe System Approach and provided with international best practice in saving lives on the road.

From June 4 to July 2, 2021, the police force from the three countries were trained in crash investigation, covering topics such as identifying and collecting evidence, developing scene diagrams, and estimating vehicle speed from skid marks, among many other aspects of crash investigation. Following the hands-on learning event, a set of Crash Investigation Guidelines adapted for each country were completed in September 2021 and shared with the training participants.

 All grant activities helped identify the key stakeholders involved in road safety in the three countries, and further on to shift their mindset towards the Safe System approach and build their capacity in crash investigation, thus enabling them to better collect, manage and use the crash data to implement road safety evidence-based measures. To further enhance the Government’s ability for road safety data management, a Data for Road Incident Visualization Evaluation and Reporting (DRIVER) pilot was also launched in Samoa. This pilot showcased how a simple tool can facilitate the easy recording, visualization, and analysis of road crashes, leading to informed decision making and investments to prevent future road crashes.

Follow up actions

Given the good results from this engagement, the Asian Development Bank is planning a similar activity for other countries in Asia together with the GRSP, in support of the Asia-Pacific Road Safety Observatory. In addition, GRSP was contracted by the World Bank under the African Road Safety Observatory to deliver similar training for four countries in Africa.



The results from the DRIVER pilot in Samoa will be shared with hopes of scaling up the system across the entire Pacific region. There has been recent success in scale-up efforts. Notably, the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (GoFSM) through its World Bank-financed Prioritized Road Investment and Management Enhancements (PRIME) project (Board approved in May 2021) will conduct a similar assessment to identify capacity gaps and issues with road safety in the country and provides recommendations on how to address them. In addition, through its World Bank-financed Strategic Climate-informed Road Enhancements (SCORE) project (Board approved in April 2022), GoFSM has agreed to establish its own road crash database. PRIME and SCORE will be guided by lessons learned from the GRSF-financed RSMCRs and DRIVER pilot in Samoa.

Key resources to drive action

In order of appearance,

  • Photo by GRSP- Solomon Islands Police Training
  • Photo by Mirick Paala
  • Photo by Mirick Paala
  • Photo by GRSP- Samoa Police Training
  • Photo by GRSP – Vanuatu Police Training