Image credit: AIP Foundation

May 2019: Star Rating for Schools Lead Partner AIP Foundation (Safe Kids in Vietnam) celebrated UN Global Road Safety week with a workshop to recognise the milestone of the Walk this Way program.

The Walk this Way program was launched in 2009 to increase awareness of child pedestrian safety and improve road user behaviour in Vietnam.

The workshop saw representatives from Fedex, AIP Foundation, Ho Chi Minh City Traffic Safety Committee, Ho Chi Minh Department of Transportation and the Ho Chi Minh Department of Education and Training, as well as from selected schools.

The celebration included the recognition of road upgrades in 4 schools out of 37 assessed with SR4S along a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor so far through the inclusion of school zone warnings, pedestrian crossing facilities (including the first raised crosswalks installed at school zones in Ho Chi Minh City) and refuge islands.  These road upgrades led to an increase in the Star Rating of all four schools, ensuring a measurable improvement of the safety level offered to students on their journey to school. Post-implementation results showed that all the schools achieved at least 3-star or better according to the SR4S ratings.

 A baseline assessment with the school community found that 51% of parents highlighted safety as the key reason to not allow their children to walk to school alone. More than 95% of parents also mentioned the need for improvement of sidewalks, signs and traffic signals reducing the speed of vehicles near schools. The project was also supported by the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS), in partnership with World Bank Global Road Safety Facility.

These four schools were selected based on their school zone needs. Ket Doan Primary School in District 1 is located on a narrow street that lacks a proper sidewalk. Mach Kiem Hung Secondary School in District 5 faces heavy and speedy traffic. Hung Vuong Primary School and Pham Van Chi Primary Schools in District 6 need refuge islands for pedestrians to safely cross the road.

Based on feedback from each of the schools and from local authorities, AIP Foundation found that one of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce speed in school zones is to place visible “SLOW DOWN” markings on roads, which is easily replicable and cost effective. Other strategies to reduce school zone speed that participants found effective are bigger school zone signs, raised crosswalks, refuge islands, and yellow warning lights.

With the positive results and feedback from local stakeholders, AIP Foundation will advocate for increased government involvement in replicating the implementation model at the remaining schools under Walk This Way.

For more information on the progress: