School Road Safety a Global Concern

Road safety is a crucial issue in Latin America, where children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable. Each day, approximately 500 children die in road crashes worldwide, making school environments critical areas for safety due to the frequent interaction between student pedestrians and vehicles.

FIA Region IV Initiatives

The FIA Region IV Office has been working on improving school safety in Latin America since 2018 using Star Rating for Schools (SR4S) to assess safety of school infrastructure for informed interventions. While SR4S assessments have been conducted in over 120 schools across Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Paraguay, Guatemala, Panama, and Uruguay, only 70 have seen concrete safety improvements. This highlights the need for continued efforts to translate assessments into action.

To address this gap, the FIA Region IV, supported by FIA Foundation, launched a new project in 2023 to support member clubs that apply for FIA Road Safety Grant Programme. The initiative has three key goals:

  • Training: Equip member clubs with the skills to use the SR4S tool effectively, allowing them to conduct thorough assessments and identify the most appropriate safety improvements for each school.
  • Funding: Through the FIA Foundation, funds will be provided to cover the costs of implementing the identified safety measures, turning assessments into tangible improvements around schools.
  • Collaboration: Strengthen relationships between local authorities, private sector partners, and strategic organizations. This collaborative approach will ensure the effective implementation of the identified safety upgrades.

A prime example of this commitment to enhancing school safety across Latin America is La Paz, Bolivia. The Deputy Mayor’s Office of the Southern Zone is spearheading a collaborative effort with several agencies to bolster safety measures around schools in the Southern Macro of the Pedro Domingo Murillo Province, located in the Bolivian La Paz Department. This joint initiative, in partnership with the Common Good Agency, the Municipal Cooperation Agency, the Municipal Secretariat of Mobility and Security, and the Automovil Club Boliviano, is dedicated to fostering a secure environment for students during their commute to and from school. 

The project will concentrate on implementing targeted improvements for four schools: Enrique Lindemann, Santa Rosa La Florida, Fuerzas Armadas de la Nación, and Reverendo Padre Walter Strub. These enhancements are meticulously designed based on the findings of comprehensive SR4S assessments, which identified potential road infrastructure risks around each school.

Enrique Lindemann School

  • Improve road markings: Revamp intersection signage, repaint marked pedestrian crossings, and renew lane dividers.
  • Pothole repairs for improved road conditions.
  • Deployment of alert signs.

Santa Rosa La Florida School

  • Enhance road markings: Elevate intersection signage visibility and refresh marked pedestrian crossings with new paint.
  • Implement installation of a traffic light at the intersection for enhanced traffic control and pedestrian safety.
  • Enhance sidewalks and implement speed calming measures for improved pedestrian safety and reduced traffic speed.

Fuerzas Armadas De La Nacion School

  • Establish designated parking area.
  • Upgrade intersection signage and renew lane divider markings.
  • Enhance speed bumps.

Reverendo Padre Walter Strub School

  • Repaint marked pedestrian crossings.
  • Install a traffic light at the intersection.
  • Install speed calming measures.
  • Conduct pothole repairs to enhance road conditions.

The project is scheduled to span an eight-month timeframe, with each school slated to receive improvements over a duration of approximately two months. This collaboration underscores the dedication of local authorities in La Paz and the Automovil Club Boliviano towards fostering safer journeys for students as they commute to and from school.