Image credits: Zambia Road Safety Trust

Every day, children in Zambia face the dangers of the road on their way to and from school. In 2021 alone, 10% of the 2,163 road fatalities in the country were innocent children. Recognizing this urgent need, a powerful collaboration has emerged to make school zones safer.

A Team Effort for Safer Roads: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, and the UN Road Safety Fund have joined forces to tackle road safety challenges around schools in Lusaka. Their focus is on infrastructure improvements in high-risk areas, using the Star Rating for Schools (SR4S) app to assess and quantify the risks children face.

SR4S: Quantifying the Danger

Developed by the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), SR4S assigns star ratings to school zones, with 1 star being the least safe and 5 stars the safest. This data-driven approach helps prioritize interventions and track progress.

Transforming School Zones: From Risky to Safe

Six schools in densely populated areas of Lusaka were chosen for the initial phase: Jacaranda Primary, Lusakasa Primary, Kabanana Primary, Kalingalinga Primary, Regiment Primary, and Chainda Primary. The project implemented various measures to enhance safety:

  • Safe Pedestrian Crossings: Well-marked crossings with proper signage were established to guide children safely across the road.
  • Speed Reduction Measures: Speed humps, reduced speed limits, and traffic calming techniques were implemented to slow down vehicles near schools.
  • Other improved infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists: Sidewalks, footpaths, and cycling lanes were constructed to provide safer alternatives to walking and cycling on the road.
  • Awareness Campaigns: Targeted campaigns for students, parents, teachers, and the community were conducted to raise awareness about road safety.
  • Data Collection and Monitoring: Mechanisms were established to track the effectiveness of the implemented measures and ensure their continued impact.

School-Specific Success Stories:

  • Jacaranda Primary: Enhanced from 4.3-stars to 4.5-stars with the addition of sidewalks, signage, and pedestrian fencing.
  • Lusakasa Primary: Improved from 3.4-stars to 4.8-stars after implementing speed humps, signage, and pedestrian infrastructure.
  • Kabana Primary: Increased from 4.5-stars to 4.9-stars with interventions such as speed humps, road signage, pedestrian fencing, sidewalk, pedestrian gate, and road markings introduced.
  • Kalingalinga Primary: Transformed from a 2.9-stars to a 4.4-stars zone thanks to sidewalks, speed humps, and improved signage. This dramatic improvement followed the tragic deaths of two students and injuries to ten others the previous year.
  • Regiment Primary: Showed significant progress, climbing from a 1.1-stars to a 3.1-stars rating after receiving road signage, sidewalks, and pedestrian crossings.
  • Chainda Primary: Upgraded from 4.0-stars to 4.7-stars with the addition of signage and pedestrian infrastructure.

Click on each image to enlarge

Celebration and Continued Commitment

The project launch at Jacaranda Primary School on September 7th, 2023, brought together key stakeholders to celebrate the progress and reaffirm their commitment to safer roads for children. Interactive awareness campaigns at multiple schools further engaged the community in the ongoing effort.

The Zambia Road Safety Trust remains at the forefront of this crucial initiative, working tirelessly to create a safer future for the children of Zambia. The success of this collaborative effort demonstrates the power of data-driven interventions, infrastructure improvements, and community engagement in saving lives and protecting vulnerable children on their way to school.