As part of the Botnar Child Road Safety Challenge, the South African Road Federation (SARF) has partnered with the Mogale City Municipality and 3M South Africa to upgrade schools in Mogale City. The project started in 2017, aiming to improve the safety of young people on their way to and from school, in a country where 20% of road fatalities involve children.

SARF Operations Director, Basil Jonsson, says, “The first step was to better understand the risks that children face on their way to and from school in Mogale City.

“Working with our partners, we developed a Road Safety Risk Assessment Model, which includes a Road Safety Risk Index, to prioritise schools where the risk for accidents is high. We made use of the Star Rating for Schools (SR4S) App to measure the road environment, road type, road features, school zone, sidewalks, crossings, flow of vehicles and pedestrians as well as intersections. To measure speed around the schools, we used a hand-held speed gun.”

The model was applied in 50 schools in Mogale City. Those with the highest road safety risk were selected for the project. These included Athlolong primary school, Lengau primary school, Mosupatsela secondary school, Tsholetsega public school, WD Oliphant primary school and Bosele intermediary school.

The schools were upgraded with measures such as speed management and delineation, in combination with road safety education, law enforcement and data management. Based on the success of the programme, Fondation Botnar has injected additional funds into the project, allowing three more schools to be included: Boipelo intermediary school, Diphalane primary school and Phatudi primary school.

SARF President, Phil Hendricks, says, “As children return to school, we want to highlight the risk that learners face on our roads every day. Children are vulnerable road users because they are still developing and cannot handle complex traffic situations in the same way as adults”. According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation, approximately 20% of all road fatalities nationally involve children.

Hendricks adds that “Before and after evaluations are a cornerstone of the project because we need to be able to show the impact of the project and how we used the grant. It also builds a case study for the project to be replicated in other municipalities. While the funding from Fondation Botnar was only for Mogale City, we believe that this project can be replicated in other areas.”

The Botnar Child Road Safety Challenge is a partnership of Fondation Botnar with the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP). As well as South Africa, Fondation Botnar is funding projects in small- and medium-sized cities in India, Mexico, Romania, Tunisia and Vietnam. Recipients are required to plan and implement practical, innovative and evidence-based interventions that improve road safety for young people.

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Image credit above: SARF