The Star Rating for Schools (SR4S) tool, developed by iRAP, helped assess the safety of nine schools in Moldova in 2023. Subsequently, three school zones in Balti, Singerei, and Ungheni municipalities saw significant upgrades particularly safer crossings for vulnerable road users (VRUs), leading to a safety level improvement to 4-5 stars.

The “Safe crossings – safe journeys” project, implemented by the Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM) aimed to:

  • Implement safe and sustainable low-cost interventions to transform three pedestrian crossings in the three targeted localities in Moldova – Balti, Ungheni and Singerei.
  • Improve urban mobility and the sustainability of VRU infrastructure.
  • Address the needs of all road users, prioritizing schoolchildren and those with limited mobility.

“Vasile Alecsandri” Lyceum in Ungheni

ACM joined forces with school management and local authorities to implement several tactical urbanism interventions to improve the safety of the nearby pedestrian crossing for “Vasile Alecsandri” Lyceum:

  • Established a 30 km/h zone;
  • Clearly marked the pedestrian crossing;
  • Installed plastic bollards to prevent parking within 10 meters of the crossing, giving drivers a clearer view;
  • Lowered curbs and constructed access slopes on both sides for easier access for people with limited mobility;
  • Installed new traffic signs such as “Attention, children”, “Pedestrian crossing”.

These interventions improved the safety of the crossing with an increased star rating from 4.8-star to 5.7-star, reflecting the reduced operating speed, improved visibility, and enhanced accessibility for pedestrians.

“Dimitrie Cantemir” Lyceum in Singerei

The SR4S assessment conducted in Dimitrie Cantemir” Lyceum in Singerei indicated a 3.3-star rating. While not the most hazardous, there was still room for improvement. ACM collaborated with local authorities to implement safety enhancements around the main pedestrian crossing used by students.

These measures included:

  • Established a 30 km/h zone;
  • Narrowed the pedestrian crossing using bollards, shortening the distance students need to cross;
  • Installed plastic bollards to prevent parking within 5 meters of the crossing, giving drivers a clearer view;
  • Applied reflective markings and painted the sidewalks with a colored inscription “SCHOOL” to increase awareness;
  • Installed new traffic signs such as “Attention, children”, “Pedestrian crossing”;
  • Constructed access ramps from the sidewalks for easier access for people with limited mobility.

Following these interventions, the star rating of the pedestrian crossing increased from 3.3 to 4.8 stars, thanks to the reduction in operating speed and the improvement in visibility and accessibility.

“Spiridon Vangheli” primary school nr.21

The pedestrian crossing near “Spiridon Vangheli” primary school nr.21 in Balti, used daily by students from two lyceums and a kindergarten, received a low 2.0-star rating due to its location in a busy junction with high operating speed.

Taking the initiative, ACM collaborated with school management, local authorities, and the police to address this concern through the following measures:

  • Established a 30 km/h zone;
  • Installed school zone warning signs and road markings to alert drivers;
  • Redesigned the intersection by adding a dedicated pedestrian crossing on the side road;
  • Improved the sidewalks for better walking conditions;
  • Installed pedestrian guardrails on both sides of the crossing for added safety.

These significant interventions transformed the crossing from a high-risk zone to a much safer environment. Following the project, the star rating jumped from 2.0 star to 4.7 star, reflecting a dramatic improvement in safety for students and pedestrians.

These interventions directly benefit over 3,000 students, making their commutes to and from school safer. This positive impact extends to parents, grandparents, friends, neighbors, and especially those with limited mobility.

Educational activities and awareness campaigns were conducted alongside the infrastructure improvements, creating a holistic safety approach.

The project’s success was made possible by the financial support of the FIA and FIA Foundation (FIA Road Safety Grant Programme). The Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM) also received valuable support from UNICEF Moldova and EASST.