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Knowledge Creation and Multi-level Partnership for Road Safety in the Philippines


Road crashes in the Philippines have been a major cause for the loss of lives in the country. To contextualize this problem, the Philippines lost around 12,690 lives in 2016 and around $12,410 as an economic cost for these crashes (4.1% of the country’s GDP) in the same year (source: here). 

Given the long-standing engagement in the Philippines and the continuous support provided by the Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF), the World Bank was engaged by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) under a systematic 3-year Reimbursable Advisory Services (RAS) program to tackle the problem. This RAS, the first road safety dedicated one in the region, had a financial budget allocation of US$1.8 million, and involved a series of activities ranging from a road safety management capacity review of the Client, up to in-depth hands-on engineering training.  

Ideas in Action

As a main outcome of this 3-year RAS, there was a shift in mentality surrounding road safety management and implementation within DPWH. This was achieved by (i) putting together a diverse and seasoned team of road safety experts from different parts of the world and (ii) delivering a series of activities in a logical order - starting with the capacity assessment of the institution, continuing with capacity building, mentoring, pilot analysis and hand on training. This RAS has delivered for DPWH a better understanding on how road safety risks should be managed and treated, enhanced leadership skills for managing road safety investments, but also refreshed technical skills related to road safety engineering. 

Overall, the RAS activities enhanced road safety operations within DPWH, including those undertaken by field offices, i.e., Regional and District Offices of DPWH. Hence, the RAS outreach strategy targeted as well to the DPWH’s field offices apart from all concerned Bureaus and Services in the Central Office. Beyond DPWH, there was an expanding dialogue on road safety in the Philippines with various national agencies which are undertaking local roads projects, such as the Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), or with the Philippines National Police (PNP) and Department of Transportation (DOTR). 


  • Shift in mentality around road safety across all levels of DPWH and other stakeholders ensuring that they are more proactive in creating, designing, and maintaining roads. 

  • Improvement in DPWH’s capacity internally as well as in relation to other regional stakeholders achieved through capacity assessment of institutions and development of clear and impactful road safety action plans.  

  • Technical skills and knowledge for road safety achieved by DPWH staff through tailored workshops, mentoring and hands-on training on key road safety engineering tools (such as the identification and treatment of blackspots and implementation of road safety measures).  

  • Sustainability of road safety management within DPWH even after closing of RAS, through specialized accreditation to selected staff and members of academia. This program created certified road safety auditors and iRAP assessors in the country and will continue doing so via future courses by these certified experts.  

  • DPWH and road safety experts in the Philippines are now benefitting from updated road safety manuals and guidelines for high-risk locations (blackspots), roadworks safety and speed management. 

Way Forward

The lessons learnt from this engagement are going to serve as a guiding resource for improving road safety in the country and the region. The program highlighted the importance of close coordination and partnership with the Client, in order to have the most impactful long-term results. 


The Key Impact

  • view

    Focused, comprehensive and long-term vision to achieve road safety in the country

  • People

    Both technical and behavioral components are targeted by aiming at not just technical knowledge but also understanding of road safety issues

  • km

    100 blackspots investigated with solutions proposed 

  • cities-country

    4,000 km of national highways inspected using the iRAP tool

  • members

    24 certified Road Safety Auditors within DPWH

  • research


    Two updated road safety guidelines, a new speed zoning manual and a capacity review report prepared