Putting passengers in the driver’s seat – Preventing road traffic deaths through a public service campaign

$291,154 | Stage 2: Testing at Scale 
$2,990,570 | Stage 3: Widespread Implementation 
Georgetown University Initiative on Innovation, Development and Evaluation (gui
²de) | Kenya 

 

The problem: Frequently fatal traffic accidents on minibuses

Photo of minibuses in Kenya

“14 Killed in Crash” is an all too common headline in Kenya, where a ride on a minibus is a notorious danger. In sub-Saharan Africa, road deaths are the leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 29 and the second leading cause of death for people ages 5 to 14. Road deaths cost the region $10 billion annually.  Solutions to this road safety problem, like building guardrails or traffic enforcement, however, are often extremely expensive.

In terms of cause of death, road crashes are already on a par with HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, and by 2030 more people will die on the road than from all three of these diseases combined. In sub-Saharan Africa, road deaths are the leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 29 and the second leading cause of death for people ages 5 to 14. Road deaths cost the region $10 billion annually.  Solutions to this road safety problem, like building guardrails or traffic enforcement, however, are often extremely expensive.

The solution: Saving lives with stickers

A pair of Georgetown University researchers devised an experiment to see if simple messaging could help save passengers’ lives. Motivational messages encouraging passengers to “Speak up!” against dangerous driving were pasted in the passenger cabin of minibuses. The passengers were not asked to report the drivers to a third party—they were simply encouraged to insist that their drivers slow down.

The researchers’ pilot study, which involved 2,400 vehicles, showed striking results: the stickers were posted inside a random selection of 1200 minibuses. Compared to rates for 1200 buses without stickers, road accident insurance claims fell by half, and claims involving injury or death dropped by two-thirds. The cost was $7 per disability-adjusted life year.

Georgetown University's initial results through their Stage 2 randomized control trial showed that the simple innovation of putting stickers in buses in Kenya that empower passengers to speak up about reckless driving reduces road accidents by 25%-33%. With this high bar of evidence to support their solution, DIV will fund Zusha! to expand throughout Kenya and into other countries in East Africa.

 

8,000 vehicles received stickers during the randomized control trial. Approximately 140 accidents were avoided and 55 lives were saved annually. At scale, this simple innovation has the potential to save countless lives each year, for a fraction of the cost of other road safety interventions.

 
 
Speak up Now: Dont Let a Reckless Driver get away with murder
Bus Sticker: Speak up Now, Dont Let a Reckless Driver get away with murder

The potential: Cost-effectiveness, impacts and implications

Given this high bar of evidence, DIV awarded Gui²de, in partnership with Digital Divide Data, the National Road Safety Trust and other partners in Kenya, a nearly $3 million Stage 3 grant to scale this solution. The stickers will be placed in all public transportation vehicles, including matatus and larger inter-city buses across Kenya.
 

Learn more

 

For more stories about DIV's grantees, view the full DIV portfolio of grantees by COUNTRY | SECTOR

 

 

Last updated: January 30, 2015

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