EASST pilots new Toolkit for Assessing and Reporting on Road Safety in School Zones
With the support of the FIA Foundation’s Advocacy Hub, we are working with our EASST partners across nine countries towards the reduction of speed limits to 30km/h around schools and on routes to school.
The average speed limit around schools in our region is 40km/h, and even this is frequently exceeded due to low levels of enforcement, high tolerance limits for speeding, and a lack of speed management infrastructure.
Last year, we worked with our EASST partners to conduct a region-wide survey of local communities to establish a baseline at the start of the Decade of Action on what the public feel about speeding and lowering speed limits on local urban roads, including around schools.
The results found that 80% of those surveyed believe that speed limits around school zones should be 30km/h or lower. However, less than 50% would support making 30km/h the new normal in all urban areas.
By focusing on schools, where there is clear public support for lower speeds, we are hoping to make tangible changes and, use this experience to build a strong evidence base for countering the myths around low-speed areas more generally.
To support this work, we have developed a Toolkit for Assessing and Reporting on Road Safety in School Zones to assist EASST partners in identifying, assessing, and reporting on school zone safety. The document is designed to help evaluate the immediate area around schools – to assess the key risks and consider interventions that could be made to improve safety for vulnerable and young road users. It signposts users to additional resources such as iRAP Star Rating for Schools, NACTO/Global Designing Cities Initiative ‘Designing Streets for Kids’, and the Child Health Initiative ‘Traffic Conflict Technique’ toolkit.
The Toolkit is currently helping EASST partners to select priority schools and work through a series of structured topics and questions – including issues such as speed management, parking, and infrastructure to name but a few – to produce a standardised written report on the current safety around an individual school and to help identify areas for improvement and develop recommendations.
In Kyrgyzstan, it has been used successfully by Public Association ‘Road Safety’ (PARS) and the Traffic Police to assess two high risk schools in Bishkek. Working with the two schools, PARS established Working Groups at each school including school leadership personnel, parents, Traffic Police, and local authority representatives. The results of the assessments were presented to the two Working Groups. Each Working Group sent an official letter to the Mayor’s Office requesting action based on the results of the assessments for their school. A number of the improvements they called for have been incorporated into the City Administration’s working plan for 2022 and improvements around school no. 5 are already being implemented – including new road markings, road signs at all school entrances and exits, and even a new traffic light being installed.
The Toolkit has already proved a useful resource for EASST partners to standardise their school zone assessments, considering a wide range of issues, and to advocate successfully for changes. We hope that this will become a resource to be used by others outside of the EASST region to improve school zone safety.
Assessing and Reporting on Road Safety in School Zones
Our EASST ‘Assessing and Reporting on Road Safety in School Zones’ toolkit is designed to help NGOs, local authorities, and other stakeholders evaluate the immediate area around schools – to assess the key risks and consider interventions that could be made to improve road safety for vulnerable and young road users.