On 8th May 2017, as part of their activities for UN Global Road Safety Week, EASST partner the Young Generation of Tajikistan (YGT) organised a traffic survey outside school No. 72 on Sokhili Street in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The aim of the survey was to determine the key risk factors that cause road traffic collisions outside the school by assessing the intensity of traffic and pedestrians using the road, as well as drivers’ adherence to the 40km/h speed limit.
During an hour of observation, in which YGT worked with a team of specially trained Young Road Inspectors from the school, it was found that a total 1267 vehicles passed the school travelling at an average speed of 72.5km/hour, which is almost double the legal limit. 123 pedestrians were recorded, mostly children, among whom 48 per cent were observed crossing the road in the wrong place.
The survey noted that digital traffic lights are installed too far from the school, and while there is a pedestrian crossing near the school, a lack of surveillance means that drivers often drive through a red light, threatening the lives and health of children travelling to and from school.
Attention was also drawn to the fact that there are no road signs in the area informing drivers that there is a school nearby and that the speed limit is 40km/h. There are road signs highlighting the pedestrian crossing. However, these are not reflective which therefore hampers visibility to drivers, particularly during twilight hours in the morning and evening when children are arriving at and leaving school. Accordingly, EASST and the YGT are now working with local authorities to ensure proper infrastructure is in place around the school as part of a wider project to improve road safety in Tajikistan supported by the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) Special Shareholders Fund.
As a result of the survey, and to remind drivers about the speed limits within the city, the YGT along with the Youth Road Inspectors organised a flash mob with the help of the Dushanbe Traffic Police reaching over 900 people. Children stood at the side of the road in high-visibility clothing holding speed limit signs, asking drivers to slow down. They also distributed leaflets about speeding and the importance of slowing down to save lives.
The flash mob was warmly welcomed by passing citizens and drivers. Many drivers flashed their lights and honked their horns in support as they drove past.
These activities were held as part of the YGT’s larger project to promote road safety education in the Firdavsi District of Dushabe. So far, as part of this project, they have successfully gained support from the Ministry of Education and are working with 10 local schools to train over 40 teachers in using the EASST Road Safety Education Pack.