Making roads safer for children and vulnerable road users in Tajikistan

Road Safety Governance and Capacity Building, Tajikistan

Last month 52 new high-visibility street signs were installed at 15 high-risk pedestrian road crossings in Dushanbe – the first of 200 signs destined to make Tajikistan’s capital safer.

The high-visibility signs are a donation to EASST from the Safer Roads Foundation (SRF), a UK charity working to reduce pedestrian casualties by improving road engineering at hazardous road crossings. With support from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), EASST partners the Young Generation of Tajikistan (YGT) have been working in close cooperation with the Mayor’s Office and the Dushanbe Traffic Police to make urban roads safer for vulnerable road users. Focusing on the most dangerous road crossings, designs are also being drawn up to improve some of the worst crossings in the city sponsored too by SRF.

In Tajikistan, every fourth person killed on the road is a child or teenager under the age of 16. They are usually on their way to or from school.

Since 2015, the YGT have been working in schools in Dushanbe to increase children’s knowledge and awareness of road risk and give them the skills to keep safe on the roads. However, road infrastructure around schools – and along the route to schools – has remained a particular danger.

By installing high-visibility road signs around these high-risk areas, drivers will be given greater warning of an upcoming crossing allowing time to slow down and let pedestrians cross safely. The ‘diamond-grade’ high-vis signs can be seen at night from a distance of 1,500 ft – a distance 3 times greater than low-quality reflective signs. Moreover, they are much larger than the pedestrian crossing signs they are replacing, making them much harder to miss in the distance. Over the coming months the YGT will be working with the Mayor’s Office and Traffic Police to measure the impact of the new signs and ensure a safe journey to and from school for every child.

The partnership with SRF builds firmly upon our EBRD-sponsored work to develop the skills of road engineers in Tajikistan. Many road deaths could be avoided worldwide if road designs were more sympathetic to the needs of vulnerable road users. EASST is grateful to the SRF and EBRD for enabling this important work.