Global Shapers Ulaanbaatar Hub engage local communities in calling for safer school streets

Children's Road Safety, Mongolia, News

In Ulaanbaatar, road risk around school zones is high – with numerous collisions involving children who walk or cycle to school occurring every week. Research conducted by our EASST partner, Global Shapers Ulaanbaatar Hub, as well as by local authorities has identified the lack of adequate infrastructure, such as sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, and signage as a significant contributing factor to this issue. The city’s rapid growth has also led to increased traffic congestion and illegal parking, further exacerbating the problem.

To help improve safety for children on their way to and from school, Global Shapers have been working with EASST over the past year (with support from the FIA Foundation Advocacy Hub) to address some of these challenges. The project has involved a combination of data analysis, community engagement, advocacy, and tactical urbanism to both identify the most effective measures to reduce road crashes around schools as well as to create safe and accessible routes to school.

After collecting and mapping crash data for the past 3 years, Global Shapers were able to identify a number of ‘black spot’ school zones for further assessment. Ultimately, an area within the Bayanzurkh District of Ulaanbaatar was selected for a more targeted intervention, which includes two schools with a total of 8,500 students along with two local kindergartens and a day care centre. Police records show that over 80 pedestrians were injured within 500 metres of this area in 2021 alone.

Global Shapers formed a strategic partnership involving engineers, the school leadership, and the Bayanzurkh District Police to carry out a more detailed road safety audit on all roads and entrances around these schools. The audit found a general lack of visibility around school entrances, as well as lack of pavements meaning there is no segregation between cars and pedestrians, no road signage, informal/illegal parking, and obstructed pedestrian routes.

These audit results were presented to the local school communities – including teachers and parents – and local residents at a dedicated workshop organised by Global Shapers. Participants were also given the opportunity to offer ideas and comment on proposed solutions on how to make the area safer and more child friendly. Immediately, the principal of school no. 44 contacted the city authorities about the state of road around his school, and has secured a commitment and funding from the municipality to upgrade the road on the north side of the compound, including building pavements and pedestrian spaces along the road.

Additional work has been carried out by Global Shapers, in partnership with the school communities, which has included the installation of no-parking signs, adding brightly coloured barriers to prevent parking and create a segregated space on the road for pedestrians, and painting zebra-crossings (adorned with flowers) to create safer crossing spaces.

Over the next year, Global Shapers Ulaanbaatar Hub will continue to work towards the reduction of speed related road crashes and casualties around schools in Ulaanbaatar. They will work to establish community working groups to assess risk factors around schools and install simple low-cost interventions to provide more pedestrian space for children and parents – all with the long term aim of establishing new speed management standards for school zones across Mongolia.