Zugdidi city municipality set 30km/h speed limit around school zones

Children's Road Safety, Georgia, News

Municipal authorities in the Georgian region of Zugdidi are in the process of setting 30km/h speed limits around all school zones in the municipality.

40 school zones in Zugdidi city have already had new road signs installed and 30km/h speed zones established. The final two city schools, which are undergoing more extensive upgrades as part of our work with the FIA, FIA Foundation, and Star Ratings for Schools, will have speed reductions implemented before the end of the year.

A further 15 schools in villages outside the city limits will also see 30km/h speed zones installed by January.

These speed reductions follow an advocacy campaign implemented by Partnership for Road Safety (PfRS) who, with the support of EASST and the FIA Foundation Advocacy Hub, have been calling for 30km/h school speed zones to be implemented across three municipalities in Georgia: Zugdidi, Tbilisi, and Rustavi.

In Georgia, urban speed limits are set at the municipal level. Current legislation sets speed limits at 40km/h. However, high speed tolerances and a high level of speeding mean the operational speed of vehicles around schools is often much higher. In 2020, 20 children under the age of 16 were killed in road crashes in Georgia.

The changes in Zugdidi mark a milestone moment. It is the first municipality in the country to implement such widespread change and we hope it will serve as an example to other municipalities across the country.

PfRS have organised frequent meetings, briefings, and discussions to inform decision makers about the benefits of speed reductions around schools. Pilots across the country have been used to demonstrate these benefits in real terms. They have worked to translate the Global Designing Cities Initiative (GDCI) Designing Streets for Kids guide into Georgian language and provide training for representatives of the municipal government and roads department. PfRS have also run an extensive media campaign, featuring frequently on national talk shows and news programmes to advocate for safer school streets.

Commenting on the changes, the the Mayor of Zugdidi Municipality, Mamuka Tsotseria, said:

“Ensuring a safe environment in school zones is critically important for Zugdidi Municipality’s City Hall, as well as adopting engineering solutions that will help limit speed to 30 km/h and create safe road infrastructure near schools. In cooperation with Partnership for Road Safety and the Roads Departments, we already have many school zones in the municipality which support the safety of our children. The City Hall of Zugdidi Municipality will continue working on increasing the safety of school zones in the future, which will be one of our priority directions.”

In addition to the success they have seen in Zugdidi, PfRS have seen speed reductions to 30km/h at an additional 33 school zones across Tbilisi and Rustavi, and developed new road standards for schools zones in partnership with representatives at Tbilisi City Hall.

On a national level, they have successfully engaged the State Audit Office with whom they have co-produced a report calling for reduced speed limits and improved enforcement around school zones and presented this to the Parliament of Georgia: a decision is pending.