Pop-up street transformation is installed to improve children’s road safety in Sumgayit City

Azerbaijan, Children's Road Safety, News

A pop-up street transformation was unveiled this week at school no. 2 in Sumgayit City in Azerbaijan. Funded by the UK Aid through the World Bank’s Global Road Safety Facility, the transformation aims to demonstrate how child-friendly road design can improve safety and reduce road traffic casualties around schools.

The transformation has been implemented by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), EASST, and the Global Designing Cities Initiative (GDCI) along with our local partners the National Automobile Club of Azerbaijan (AMAK).

School no. 2 was selected based on crash data mapped from across Sumgayit City in the last three years. This analysis enabled AMAK and the Traffic Police Department of Sumgayit City to identify a number of schools located in high-risk areas. Further assessments, surveys and site inspections were carried out with key stakeholders, including the school leadership, and school no. 2 was selected as the most suitable for the pilot project due to its location in an area with poor pedestrian infrastructure, heavy traffic, and high vehicle speeds. Sadly, it has also been the site of two recent incidents involving child pedestrians which led to one child being fatally injured.

In partnership with EASST and GDCI, AMAK have worked closely with the Sumgait City Police and local engineers to develop plans for the temporary infrastructure changes around school no. 2. The plans, which meet local road safety regulations as well as international best practice, were approved by the State Road Police.

The pop-up street transformation was completed on September 15, 2022, just in time for the start of the new school year and and when density of children and pedestrians in the area will increase.

The transformation is based on 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 intervention aims to reduce vehicle speeds, improve pedestrian-crossing safety, and reallocate space to meet pedestrian needs. The work includes marking additional pedestrian crossings, installing speed humps and new road signs, and creating dedicated loading spaces and pedestrian areas.

The project aims to demonstrate the potential impact that street design can have on speed management and traffic calming, and support the improvement of road infrastructure in Azerbaijan more widely. It has already gathered important information on how traffic calming decisions are made in practice, which will be invaluable in guiding future urban infrastructure projects, addressing issues, and developing new tools and solutions to support local decision-making bodies improve road safety for children in urban areas.