New infrastructure installed to improve pedestrian safety at dangerous Bishkek intersection

Kyrgyzstan, News, Road Safety Governance and Capacity Building

In 2018, with the support of the British Embassy in Bishkek, EASST and our local partners PA ‘Road Safety’ carried out a survey of pedestrian safety in the city as part of the Government’s Smart City Complex.

The survey marked the first time that Traffic Police data on road deaths and injuries was combined with location data to give a picture of high-risk areas of the road network in Bishkek.

The survey itself revealed that out of 570 people killed or injured on the roads in Bishkek in 2017 more than 48% were pedestrians and 22% were children under the age of 16. Most distressingly, one in eight of these pedestrian deaths and injuries occurred at just 15 specific sites.

Based on this data, PA ‘Road Safety’ selected five of the most dangerous crossings for further investigation – the details of which can be found in our 2018 report Pedestrian Safety in Bishkek’s Smart City Complex. Of these locations, Ryskulowa-Molodyaya Guardia was a particular cause for concern with no pedestrian signalling to support people crossing what is a busy crossroads with three lanes of traffic. Data analysis for 2018 and 2019 indicated a further 11 pedestrian collisions at this site with 12 people being injured, including 4 children.

With the support of the Safer Roads Foundation, we decided to focus on this site for specific intervention. The intersection was inspected by our EASST Expertise engineer Tolga Imamoglu who presented a set of recommendations to the Mayor’s Office and SMEU (the Infrastructure Department of the Republican Traffic Police) on how the road could be made safer for pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.

Working closely with the Safer Roads Foundation, local contractors, and local authorities these recommendations were developed into a viable design meeting both local standards and international best practice. After some delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2021, work has now been completed on Ryskulowa-Molodyaya Guardia which includes a set of modern LED pedestrian signals with countdown indicators being installed, dropped curbs for accessibility, re-painted zebras using thermoplastic paint as well as high-visibility reflective road signs including ‘Pedestrian Crossing Ahead’ and ‘Pedestrian Crossing’ warning plaques for drivers. One nearby resident has said:

“We are happy with the crossroad now. Before it was difficult to cross the road. There were no clear signs, we would have to run quickly in every direction. Now the crossroad is clear, new and understandable. Everyone goes by their own way. We are grateful.”

Our aim is that this crossing will serve as an example of best practice for the rest of the city. We will continue to monitor the crossing but hope to see a significant reduction in pedestrian collisions and casualties over the next year as we look to improve more dangerous crossings in Bishkek.