New partnership launched to pilot child friendly roads around schools in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, Children's Road Safety, News, Road Safety Governance and Capacity Building

On April 13th, supported by the World Bank’s Global Road Safety Facility, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) launched a new partnership in Azerbaijan to develop child-friendly road design and implement child-friendly speed management around schools. EASST, the Global Designing Cities Initiative (GDCI), the National Automobile Club of Azerbaijan (AMAK), and key authorities in Azerbaijan will be working together to reduce road risk for local children and improve their quality of life.

Protecting children from road risk is an absolute priority. Globally 500 children are killed or seriously injured on roads every day, and road traffic collisions are the leading single cause of death for young people aged 5-29 years in every world region. In EBRD countries of operation, road risks can be particularly acute: in 2019 just in Baku, there were 120 road fatalities and 230 serious injuries involving pedestrians. Speed was a factor in around 50% of these incidents. The urban speed limit in Baku is 60km/h, and there is no consistent policy on slow speed zones near schools. Speed is therefore an issue that must be addressed for children’s safety on the roads.

The objective of this assignment is to do that. The project will consider the factors involved in implementing speed reduction around key destinations where children are present in high numbers, such as schools and day care centres. As part of this, the project will implement a road transformation incorporating speed calming near a school selected on the basis of road casualty data and recommendations by local city authority, police and education authorities – in this case in the city of Sumgayit.

This transformation will be based in the GDCI street transformation methodology which looks at street design from the perspective of children and introduces temporary, low cost, interventions that involve local communities, and that have been proven to reduce the risk of road traffic crashes as well as improve air quality and child health more generally.

The aim is to offer proof of what is possible to achieve with child-friendly road design. The project will also include training on child-friendly road safety engineering from which a training toolkit will be developed for local decision-makers along with a review of EBRD procedures to ensure more effective implementation of speed management in its global programmes.

Speaking on behalf of the EBRD, Kamola Makhmudova, Head of the Bank’s Resident Office in Baku, said,

“The EBRD has been working with stakeholders in many countries to improve road safety standards and identify entry points either directly or indirectly associated with its investments across the five road safety pillars which form the UN Global Plan. In 2021 the World Bank conservatively estimated that the socio-economic cost of road crashes in Azerbaijan at 1.6bn AZN in 2019, or 2.0% of GDP. They also found that road crashes were associated with much higher risks of poverty and unemployment for victims and families. The human costs of each road death are immeasurable. The EBRD are happy to support this project, which will demonstrate what is possible to achieve with child-friendly road design.”

Vusal Rajabli, President of AMAK said,

“Approval of the State Program on Road Safety for 2019-2023 has paved the way for us to implement road safety projects such as “Azerbaijan: Child Friendly Road Safety” with the purpose to improve safety and security of road users. At AMAK we go above and beyond to ensure successful implementation of such projects because we believe in their positive impact and contribution in road safety of our country.”

Vafa Huseynli, AMAK said,

“Safety of children on our country’s roads is AMAK’s number one focus and priority. I believe implementing this project around the identified school in Sumgayit city will create an opportunity to apply the best practice and lessons learnt to other potential schools and cities of Azerbaijan and by doing so will create sustainability of our efforts.”