Survey finds road safety concerns amongst pedestrians with limited mobility in Chișinău

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Seven out of ten people with limited mobility in Chisinau do not feel safe when walking around the city – particularly when crossing the street. This is one of the observations of a study conducted by the Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM), in partnership with the experts of the Center for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CDPD) and Universal Access Ltd to identify the needs of people with limited mobility & how they are affected by a lack of road safety in Chisinau.

100 people with limited mobility from Chișinău, among them 46 people with disabilities, 36 parents with children and 15 elderly people, participated in the study.

The aim of the research was to assess the safety of pedestrians with limited mobility in Chisinau and to provide recommendations for the responsible authorities upon which they can act. When asked if they feel safe while crossing the street, 72% of the respondents answered that they feel insecure or even in danger. Only 28% of the participants confirmed they experience an average level of safety when crossing the street.

One of the main issues raised by persons with low mobility when crossing the street or walking through the city was driver behavior. 48% of people surveyed raised concerns over speeding, drivers failing to stop at pedestrian crossings, and aggressive driver behaviour. Other factors that contributed to feelings of insecurity included a lack of time to cross the street with traffic lights prioritizing cars; inaccessible subway passages; cars parked on sidewalks or in front of ramps; bumps and potholes on the sidewalk; pedestrian obstacles; lack of tactile coating and contrasting markings, etc.

As part of the study, participants were asked to describe the most problematic intersections they have had in terms of safety and accessibility in the city. Most remarked upon the fact that many of the main streets in the city have long pedestrian paths, with several lanes of traffic lanes, and limited crossing facilities. Many of the crossings lack both lights and audio signaling – making it more difficult for people with sensory impairments to cross safely.

The participants were also asked to recommend potential improvements for pedestrian safety at intersections in the city. 95% raised the need for more ramps and lowered curbs at pedestrian crossings. 89% called for more audio-signaling to be installed at pedestrian crossings, and 67% proposed installing tactile pavements.

Based on their recommendations, the ACM and project partners have identified 10 areas in the city where audio-signaling will be installed. The project is a continuation of work conducted in 2020 where that ACM in partnership with UNIVERSAL ACCES Ltd, CDPD, and Chisinau City Hall installed 10 sets of audio-signaled pedestrian crossings at three crowded junctions in the city which are often used by people with disabilities.

Over the next year, ACM are aiming to make Chisinau a safer a more accessible city for people with limited mobility.

The survey was carried out within the “Equal Road Rights” project implemented by the Automobile Club of Moldova in partnership with UNIVERSAL ACCES Ltd, CDPD and Chisinau City Hall, supported by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), FIA Foundation and Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport (EASST).

The activities of the “Equal Road Rights” project include conducting training on road safety, consultation meeting with people with limited mobility, organizing public awareness campaigns, continuous cooperation with local authorities to improve pedestrian crossings, taking into account the necessary safety measures for people with low mobility.