Image credit: Alexander Farnsworth (iStock)
On average, 495 school-age children (ages 7-18) are injured in traffic crashes every year. During the school year, there are especially many children near schools and other educational institutions, to which young people travel almost every day. In order to protect children from traffic crashes, the infrastructure around schools must be particularly safe.
In 2023, specialists of the Public Enterprise Transport Competence Agency (TKA) conducted studies, which included the use of SR4S assessments, to evaluate the safety of infrastructure around five private and five state Lithuanian schools in Vilnius and Kaunas.
- Vilnius Lyceum
- Vilnius Gabija Gymnasium
- Vilnius Gabija pro-gymnasium
- Vilnius Saulės private high school
- Vilnius Humanistic School
- The center of the modern school
- Vilnius Erudit Lyceum
- Kaunas Erudit Lyceum
- KTU gymnasium
- Kaunas Saulės Gymnasium
The project aims to determine whether the safety of children and other road users is ensured around schools in Lithuania. The schools were selected randomly, but at the same time taking into account the area (so that they are not in the yard between residential houses). The research was carried out according to the methodology of the Star Rating for Schools (SR4S) project, based on which information on infrastructure is collected and traffic safety ratings are provided – from 1 to 5 stars (1 – very unsafe, 5 – very safe).
“The results are very varied – ratings range from 1 to 5 stars (3 stars on average). This shows that too little attention is still being paid to the infrastructure around educational institutions. It was observed that one of the main factors determining a good rating is the speed of vehicles. If the speed limit around the school is up to 30 km/h and drivers do not exceed the speed limit, safety around the school improves significantly. Unfortunately, the speed around almost all the studied schools is exceeded by at least 10 km/h, which increases the risk of traffic accidents and the severity of the injuries sustained during traffic accidents. Therefore, we invite representatives of municipalities and schools to take care of the safety of small road users and use the Star Rating for Schools methodology to assess and improve safety around schools,” said TKA representative Evaldas Morkūnas.
After evaluating 10 schools, the results were discussed with representatives of Vilnius and Kaunas municipalities and the private schools assessed. Based on the project, suggestions were made on how to improve infrastructure safety around each analysed school.