EASST partner in Kyrgyzstan named one of ‘Best People of 2022’ for school road safety upgrades

Children's Road Safety, Kyrgyzstan, News, Safe road infrastructure

Chinara Kasmambetova, Founder and Director of Public Association ‘Road Safety’ has been named by Kutbilim News as one of the Best People of 2022 for her work with EASST to improve road safety by upgrading infrastructure at two highly dangerous intersections in Bishkek.

The two intersections are located on key routes to school, in the vicinity of schools no. 8, 48, and 61, and together accounted for almost 20 road casualties between 2019-2021.

Secondary school No. 8 is located 350m from the Moskovskaya – Beishenaliev intersection. Local media has reported that the safety situation at this intersection has deteriorated rapidly in recent years. The wide road and lack of speed management infrastructure meant that vehicles would often turn the corner at high speeds while pedestrians were crossing.

Secondary school No. 48 and secondary school No. 61 are both near to the Maldybaev – Akhunbaev intersection at a distance of between 300-500 metres. Previously, it was difficult to walk here safely and comfortably as well as being largely inaccessible for people with disabilities or other mobility limitations. There are high levels traffic around the crossing, which lacked signals for pedestrians crossing and visibility of the traffic lights was poor.

The improvements have included installing new LED traffic lights and pedestrian signals with countdown indicators, new road signs, improving paving and road markings, as well as building the country’s first ever pedestrian refuge island. Improvement works at both sites were carried out in 2022 by the Infrastructure Department of the Republican Traffic Police (SMEU) and have been designed and installed according to international best practice to serve as an example for future work being carried out in the city.

A survey conducted with over 1200 students, teachers, and parents across the three schools found that perceptions of safety increased significantly after the upgrades were completed. At school No. 8, over 75% of teachers and parents noted an improvement in road safety, with a reduction in speeding noted most often. Across all schools, 80% students surveyed reported that it is now easier to cross the road safely. Almost 90% of all people surveyed also supported similar upgrades being implemented across the city.

The project has demonstrated the important impact that infrastructure can have on guiding pedestrian and driver behaviour, and improving road safety.

Congratulations to Chinara for an amazing achievement!