Prioritising child pedestrian safety around schools in Tbilisi

Active Travel and Healthy Streets, Children's Road Safety, Georgia, News

On Friday 26 April 2024, EASST and FIA Foundation met with representatives of the Tbilisi Transport and Urban Development Agency to witness the impressive work being done in the city to improve road safety, particularly around school zones.

The meeting which took place at Tbilisi City Hall included an introduction to the work of the ‘Safe Way to School’ Working Group, which is assessing and implementing improved road infrastructure at schools across the city in which child pedestrians are prioritised. This has been a popular policy introduced by the incumbent Mayor in 2019 to improve mobility in the city. So far, the policy has seen dramatic transformations along key avenues including new bus lanes, cycle lanes, and upgraded pedestrian infrastructure. A number of dangerous and underused pedestrian bridges have been removed in favour of surface level signalised crossings and speed limits have been reduced to 30km/h in dozens of school zones. Data has shown that over this time, casualties have decreased and transit times for public transport users have improved.

The work being done by Tbilisi City Hall builds upon recommendations in the Stockholm Declaration, agreed at the Third Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in 2020, which calls for ‘a maximum road travel speed of 30 km/h in areas where vulnerable road users and vehicles mix in a frequent and planned manner’ as well as for governments and the wider road safety community to ‘acknowledge the significant impact of road traffic crashes on children and youth and emphasize the importance of taking into account their needs’.

Commenting on the meeting, Aggie Krasnolucka, Programmes Director at the FIA Foundation said:

“It was a pleasure to meet with colleagues from the Tbilisi Transport and Urban Development Agency, Traffic Control Services and Partnership for Road Safety NGO today at the City Hall. We discussed importance of road safety solutions in urban planning and learnt about continued work of the City to improve safety of most vulnerable road users. Developments across Tbilisi networks are impressive and showcase the commitment to make public spaces safer and accessible to all.”

The meeting came ahead of a Regional Road Safety Summit organised by EASST and the FIA Foundation in which road safety officials and NGO leaders from across Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus met to discuss road safety policy, implementation and enforcement in preparation for the 4th Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety.

The Global Ministerial Conference is to be hosted by the Government of Morocco in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Marrakesh in February 2025 and will bring together Minister-led delegations from across the world to address the pressing issue of road traffic death and injury and its impact on social and economic development as well as environmental sustainability.