Taipei, Nov. 21 (CNA) The Legislature approved an amendment to the Highway Act on Tuesday, which aims to put pedestrians at the front and center of transport design to make the roads more “people-friendly.”
The amendment makes it clear that road design, construction, maintenance, and traffic engineering should all be undertaken with pedestrians top of mind, in order to reduce traffic accidents, and appointed the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) to establish safety standards.
For example, when roads pass through downtown districts, medical institutions, government offices, or transport hubs, there must be nearby accessible sidewalks, pedestrian walkways, or low-traffic areas, the statement said.
The MOTC should also introduce regulations to ensure the safety of transport infrastructure, the bill said.
Taiwan’s government has come under considerable pressure this year to improve traffic safety, particularly for pedestrians, following several high-profile fatal accidents, large-scale protests, and negative international media coverage.
In response, the Cabinet put forward an “action plan” in May to allocate NT$24.5 billion (US$780 million) from 2023-2025 to improve “road quality,” and raised the maximum fine in June for motorists failing to yield to pedestrians from NT$3,600 to NT$6,000, along with other improvement measures.
According to MOTC data, the number of traffic accidents and deaths in the first eight months of this year hit 268,330 and 1,991, which represents an 11.3 percent and 0.9 percent year-on-year rise, respectively.