Infrastructure improvements along Dacia Boulevard aim to reduce speeds and provide safe spaces for pedestrians

Moldova, News, Road Safety Governance and Capacity Building, Safe road infrastructure

Dacia Boulevard is the main route running through Chisinau, Moldova’s capital city. Data from the Automated Road Traffic Crash Information System shows that Dacia Boulevard alone accounted for 420 road crashes, resulting in 27 deaths and 529 injuries between 2014 and 2019. 40% of these crashes involved pedestrians, of whom over 60% were hit in spaces designated for their movement such as sidewalks and traffic islands. Pedestrian crossings along the route were largely unsignalised and road markings were faded meaning that motorists could often speed through without noticing pedestrians.

Since 2020, we have been working with the Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM), the Safer Roads Foundation, and the Chisinau Mayor’s Office to transform Dacia Boulevard to improve safety, accessibility, and mobility for the people of Chisinau.

In 2020, three crossings were upgraded with the support of EASST, the FIA and the FIA Foundation, prioritising the needs of vulnerable road users.

In September, we unveiled the latest set of improvements at the Matei Millo/Fulgulesti intersection. This intersection alone accounted for 7 fatalities and 83 injuries in 2018.

Our improvements include new pedestrian crossing signs, new markings, narrowed lanes, and speed cushions all designed to reduce vehicle speeds and provide safe spaces for pedestrians to cross.

Vitalie Mihalache, Director of the General Department of Public Transport and Communications in Chisinau said:

“This project is an innovation for our city. In the process of its implementation, we got the opportunity to gain international experience and apply new design standards in the field of road traffic safety. Of significance is the fact that it was our municipal agency that was the third – executing – party of cooperation with the Automobile Club of Moldova. This allowed them to change the old approaches to the design and transform pedestrian crossings taking into account European practices, and with a focus on the safety of the most vulnerable road users. We will continue to incorporate the experience gained in other renovation projects to improve safety.”

Tatiana Mihailova, Director and Project Manager at ACM said:

“Protecting vulnerable road users from road risk is a priority for the ACM. In recent years, many cities around the world have started to prioritise the safety and comfort of pedestrians in public spaces, above cars. We have been paying particular attention to Dacia Boulevard for several years now as road crash data reveals more than 25 deaths in 5 years.”

“The transformation of this latest pedestrian crossing was based on practices drawn from countries such as the Netherlands and the UK. For example, for the first time an element such as the “Berlin pillow” has been used in Moldova to encourage drivers to slow down. The needs of cyclists and people with disabilities were also taken into account with additional signs, tactile paving, refuge islands, railings etc. all included in the design.”

“Together with the Chisinau Department of Transport and Police, we are monitoring the intersection and collecting information directly from the road users. The first feedback from local residents shows a positive trend – with 73% feeling much safer using the updated crossing. We hope that this pilot transformation will help save the lives of our citizens.”