Improving road safety around schools in the Ger areas of Ulaanbaatar

Children's Road Safety, Mongolia, News

Last week, EASST and the FIA Foundation travelled to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to attend the launch of the new Asian Development Bank (ADB)-funded initiative aimed at improving transport services in the Ger areas of Ulaanbaatar and meet with local partners and key stakeholders to discuss improvements to road safety and traffic congestion around schools.

The road safety situation in Mongolia requires serious attention. Road traffic crashes are one of the leading causes of deaths with around 400 lives lost on the roads each year. Vulnerable road users are at a particular risk, with pedestrian deaths accounting for 34% of all fatalities. Tragically, it is estimated that this death toll includes up to 50 school children each year.

Road safety is a particular issue in the Ger areas of Ulaanbaatar, where poor road infrastructure increases the risk of crashes, especially for pedestrians and public transport users. Traffic congestion is also high across the city, particularly around school zones where there is a lack of parking infrastructure and parents are forced to drop their children off on the roadside, idling their engines, and parking illegally.

To address these issues, and in collaboration with the ADB, EASST and FIA Foundation are working with local partner NGOs, Global Shapers Ulaanbaatar Hub and GerHub, to promote road safety in school zones and in key corridors to effectively utilise schools as an engagement platform to improve road safety. This includes safe speeds, pedestrian travel, seat belts and distracted driving, awareness and acceptance of new road safety infrastructure and the role of police enforcement in supporting safe travel.

To kick off this work, EASST and the FIA Foundation hosted a Stakeholder Discussion Forum on Improving Road Safety Around Schools in Ulaanbaatar.

The discussion forum brought together key stakeholders including representatives from the Traffic Police, the National Road Safety Council, the Ministry of Transport, the Education authority, as well as trauma specialists, academics, NGO leaders and others. The event provided an opportunity for these stakeholders to learn from international experience and regional examples of how road safety around school zones can be improved, and provided space to explore local challenges and opportunities and to find solutions to this growing problem. The event allowed for a dynamic discussion and saw a real commitment from the stakeholders and NGOs to work together to tackle this important issue.

Agnieszka Krasnolucka, Programmes Director at the FIA Foundation said:

“Road traffic crashes are the leading global cause of death for children and youth aged 5-18. At the FIA Foundation we believe that every child deserves a safe and healthy journey to school, and we are pleased to support this crucial work in Ulaanbaatar through our Child Health Initiative. It was encouraging to see the engagement of stakeholders and their commitment to work together to promote children’s road safety. “

Lana Batsuuri, from Global Shapers NGO says:

“Thanks to the support of our partners, EASST and the FIA Foundation, we have been implementing a project on road safety around schools. We have worked specifically with schools 53 and 44 in the Bayanzurkh District of Ulaanbaatar where we have implemented infrastructure upgrades including measures to increase pedestrian safety and tackle dangerous parking. This work has been welcomed by the school communities and we are looking forward to seeing the rate of road crashes reducing around these schools.”

“At the forum, we discussed the measures needed to improve child safety on the roads and around all schools in Ulaanbaatar, what are the obstacles, and how we can overcome them.  We look forward to co-operating with those attending the event to work towards delivering safe school journeys for all children in Ulaanbaatar.”