High-tech road safety system on the Corridor Vc in Bosnia and Herzegovina saves lives, as it boosts the economy

The kilometres of new road along the Corridor Vc in Bosnia and Herzegovina are intended as a boost for the country’s prosperity, because they facilitate trade. But they also contribute to better road safety. A traffic control centre near Zenica monitors every centimetre of the highway, adjusting the traffic signals and providing immediate help when anything goes wrong.

“We have automatic road accident detection software that helps us identify an incident: an accident, a fire, a load falling out of a vehicle, so that we recognize it faster,” says Zlatko Demirovski, head of department for managing and supervision of traffic at Autoceste FBiH, the public body that operates the system.

That’s important because road accidents in the country are increasing. Over 35 000 occurred in 2023. Bosnia and Herzegovina wants to improve its record, in line with international frameworks. With 260 traffic-related deaths annually (67 per million inhabitants, compared to an EU average of 44.6), each measure to improve conditions on the country’s roads counts.

“Highways are the only part of road traffic that enables driving which is both safe and fast,” says Matteo Rivellini, who heads lending for the Western Balkans and Türkiye at the European Investment Bank. “Projects such as the Corridor Vc mean better connectivity, faster communiting and travelling for its people, but also safer and faster transport for goods and services, which is essential for economic development.”

Prompt reaction to road accidents

All hazardous situations that occur on the road, such as speeding, loss of control over a vehicle, and risky overtaking, can be spotted easily thanks to over 600 cameras installed for video surveillance. Operators are able to react instantly and, within seconds, contact the police, emergency medical services or fire department. In parallel, they can adjust traffic signals and reduce the speed limit kilometres ahead of the scene of an accident.

With over 148 bridges and 46 tunnels, Corridor Vc is currently the largest and the most demanding infrastructure project in the country. Once completed, it will connect Budapest to Osijek, Sarajevo and the port of Ploče.

Thanks to the support of the European Union, the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and other donors, some 126 km of the highway have been built under the supervision of  Autoceste FBiH.

For this project, over €3 billion has been invested to date, including more than €1 billion from the European Investment Bank and around €870 million of EU grants channelled through the Western Balkans Investment Framework.


Traffic safety built into modern infrastructure

Along with integrating the highest safety standards, the new highway is operated by the most advanced traffic monitoring system. It enables authorities to adjust the speed limit to weather and other traffic conditions. It is built to avoid intersections and steep curves.

“As the most illustrative example of road safety, I would single out the construction of the Zenica-Sarajevo section on the Corridor Vc,” said Mirzet Sarajilić, a forensic analyst for the traffic sector.

“Before its construction, 12 to 15 road-related deaths were recorded annually along this section, which is quite high,” Sarajilić explains. “Today, with a new motorway built, we are able to witness one road death in the course of three years.”

Investment strategies that protect lives on the roadways

Systematically preventing deaths and serious injuries linked to road crashes is a priority for the European Investment Bank, in line with its Transport Lending Policy. As a global contributor to safer transport networks, the bank has integrated safety into all its projects in the sector.

On top of that, the European Investment Bank has embraced a number of initatitves to encourage the uptake of financing opportunities for projects that improve road safety. Such is the case with the joint initiative with the European Commission – the “Safer Transport Platform – Road Safety Advisory” launched in March 2019, as well as the Road Assessment Programmes (RAP), as part of the global drive to halve the 1.35 million annual global road deaths by 2030.