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Master of Transportation Sciences: Road Safety in Developing Countries


Road crashes and casualties lead to high physical, psychological, material and economical costs. There is a widespread recognition that road traffic crashes and injuries represent an unacceptable, and underfunded, public health crisis. Especially East- and South Asian-, Pacific- and sub-Saharan African developing countries experience a fast growing number of (fatal) traffic injuries (GRSF, 2014). For East and South Asia it is projected that the number of victims will double compared to 2010. Furthermore, road safety also clearly impacts the economy in developing countries in general since road injury is health burden number 1 and 2 for respectively the age groups 15-24 years old and 25-39 year olds (Global Road Safety Facility Strategic Plan 2013-2020, World Bank).

Therefore, in this ICP we propose a multidisciplinary master programme with a unique focus and approach to Road Safety in Developing Countries. Students are trained to identify transportation and road safety issues in order to create innovative solutions by using an integrative approach based on three pillars: the individual (dealing with the human behaviour in traffic and how to influence it e.g. intentional and unintentional riskful behaviour such as drunk driving or cognitive impairments), the environment (e.g. creating self-explaining roads and infrastructure that minimizes crash impact) and the society (e.g. societal norms and translation into policy and enforcement measures). Road safety in this programme is approached as a cross-border field, incorporating elements of psychology, economy, urban planning, environmental studies, engineering and more.

72 ECTS of the ICP curriculum (120 ECTS in total) focus purely on road safety issues with multiple applications to cases from the South. These are complemented by core multidisciplinary courses (such as Traffic flows; Environmental economic evaluation of transportation policy) which are essential for a better understanding of the whole transportation system.

The ICP scholarships and incremental funding offer us the opportunity to further strengthen the orientation of the programme towards the context of developing countries: it will allow us to increase the educational support for students from a developmental context; to give more students from developing countries the opportunity to partake and to include more expertise from developing countries.

In this way we can fulfill the aim of the ICP to form engaged students with the capacity to effectively develop, implement and evaluate a road safety policy in a development context and in addition support the alumni by creating a climate of awareness and employability with various stake-holders in their home countries and develop new joint initiatives for the sustainability of the ICP.

Concrete general activities in the ICP include:

  • building a global Road Safety in Developing Countries network;(of which the alumni of the ICP form the backbone) through (North-South and South-South) networking activities and future joint project development;
  • the establishment of a Road Safety in Developing Countries Conference;
  • sharing all programme output through an Open Access Repository in support of multiplication of initiatives;

Besides these general activities, specific activities will be setup in corporation with our partners in Vietnam (since in this proposal Vietnam will act as a testing ground). Based on the outcome, similar activities can subsequently be setup in cooperation with other countries. Thus, these activities will be a blue-print for effective cooperation and joint research in the field of road safety in the South, to be shared with and used by other current and future partners from developing countries. These specific activities in Vietnam are:

  • Establishing a Network of Excellence (NoE) to realize the transfer of knowledge and expertise in a local context in the South;At present 4 Vietnamese universities are committed to be partners in the NoE. Other stake-holders from government and the industry will be involved as well in this way allowing for a demand driven approach. With the NoE as an overarching (and ultimately self-sustainable) cooperation structure, the consortium aspires to foster education, research and initiatives in the field of road safety and to keep road safety high on the national policy agenda.
  • strengthening the educational capacity in the South;by creating a new;Master of Transportatio; Road Safety; at Ton Duc Thang University in Vietnam. The support by UHasselt for developing and teaching of this programme will gradually decrease until the programme is completely independent.

To conclude, we can state thant the specific as well as the general activities within the ICP are setup in such a way that in the short run they maximize the likelihood of effective knowledge transfer to the South and optimal absorption of this knowledge by the South while taking into account the specific road safety needs of the South. Furthermore, in the long run these activities aim to make the general and specific activities of the ICP sustainable and allow for generalization of its specific activities to other countries than Vietnam.

Intervention type

International Master Programme


01/01/2017 - 31/12/2021

This project is being implemented in:
Flemish promoter Tom Brijs
Local partner institution Universiteit Hasselt
visit www.uhasselt.be
Budget € 612.255