Building institutional support for low speed school zones and road safety in Armenia
Last week our EASST partner, National Road Safety Council NGO (NRSC), organised Armenia’s first ever multi-stakeholder dialogue on road safety and low speed school zones.
The event, attended by EASST and the FIA Foundation along with other international partners, included a high-level political forum in which representatives of the Armenian Government were present to discuss the increasing number of road crashes and casualties in the country and how the upcoming National Road Safety Strategy will address this issue.
The meeting focused on the need to implement the Safe System Approach in Armenia along with evidence-based solutions such as the implementation of 30kmh speed limits around school zones, hospitals, and other areas where vulnerable road users and traffic mix.
In 2022, 31 children died and over 800 were injured in road crashes in Armenia. Across the EASST region, our work on building Safer Schools Zones has shown that with reduced speed limits and traffic calming infrastructure really can yield results.
For example, road safety upgrades that we supported around three school zones in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan have seen a 50% reduction in the number of road casualties since upgrades were installed in 2022, with over 75% of teachers and parents surveyed reporting a perceived reduction in vehicle speeds.
The meeting concluded with government representatives, led by the Deputy Minister for Infrastructure and Territorial Administration, signing an official Memorandum of Intention – which committed them to supporting the implementation of the National Road Safety Strategy and its goals in line with recommendations set out in the Global Plan for UN Decade of Action for Road Safety.
In addition to the political forum, NRSC organised a one-day technical workshop on the implementation of the Safe System Approach around School Zones, with support from the Asian Development Bank. EASST presented on our work across the region, emphasising the need for 30km/h speed limits and well-marked and maintained ‘School Zone’ infrastructure – sharing the EASST ‘Assessing and Reporting on Road Safety in School Zones’ as well as other resources. The workshop was attended by representatives from local authorities across Armenia and aimed at building the capacity of local implementers so that they are prepared to effectively implement the National Road Safety Strategy when it is passed.
Since August, there has been at least three meetings of the Cabinet of Armenia, chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister, with all Ministers agreeing the importance of reduced speeds around schools. It is widely hoped that the National Road Safety Strategy will be formally approved soon.