La Programa de subvenciones para la seguridad vial de la FIA y el FIA Foundation have together supported the Alianza Oriental para el Transporte Seguro y Sostenible (EASST), Partnership for Road Safety (PfRS), and the Georgian Automobile Sport Federation (GASF) to upgrade four school zones in Georgia to a ‘5 Star’ standard using the Star Rating for Schools (SR4S) App.
The project kicked off last year with EASST, PfRS, and GSAF training local authorities and key stakeholders on how to use the SR4S App to assess the safety of school zones.
Putting their learning into practice, 10 school zones across the municipalities of Zugdidi and Tbilisi were assessed and Star Rated. The two lowest rated schools in each municipality were then selected for further intervention. These include:
- Public School No. 1, Zugdidi (2 stars)
- Public School No. 3, Zugdidi (2 stars)
- Public School No. 180, Tbilisi (1 star)
- Public School No. 117, Tbilisi (2 stars)
Each of the four schools lacked traffic calming or safe crossing infrastructure and had speed limits that far exceeded the WHO recommended 30km/h for areas where vulnerable road users and traffic mix.
The local road authorities worked with PfRS, GSAF, and the school communities to develop new road designs and countermeasures for each school zone based on international best practice and local need, with quality control guided by iRAP consultant Stelios Efstathiadis.
The plans were quickly approved by the local authorities and upgrades were completed earlier this year. All four school zones have seen the speed limits reduced to 30 km/h. New high visibility signage, provided by 3M, has been installed marking both school zones and the reduced speed limits. Speed humps and other traffic signs have also been installed along with new zebra crossings using a new highly reflective technology created by 3M. The crossings are now easier for drivers to see and more durable, with dropped kerbs also making them more accessible.
Star Ratings conducted again after the upgrades were installed now give all four schools an impressive 5 stars.
The project marks the first time that SR4S has been used in Georgia. It is also the first time that 3M standard infrastructure has been installed around school zones. Feedback from municipal authorities and education authorities, including the school leadership for each of the selected schools, has been overwhelmingly positive.
With the municipalities of Zugdidi and Tbilisi both making school zone safety a policy priority, this project has set a standard for school zone upgrades across Georgia to provide a safer environment for children.
Watch video below celebrating the 5-star upgrades (Video produced by the FIA Foundation)
“Our goal is to provide a safe environment for our children and prevent them from road traffic crashes as much as possible. The municipality will continue to cooperate with the Partnership for Road Safety Foundation, which is our active partner and offers us news and new trends in the area of road safety.” – Mamuka Tsotseria, Mayor of Zugdidi City
“The [SR4S App] details all the criteria and infrastructural interventions that make schools safe. Based on them, it is possible to assess the current situation, as well as to plan the measures that lead to an increase in the school’s star rating and an improvement in the quality of safety. I got a valuable, interesting experience.” – Ketevan Kandelaki, Tbilisi City Assembly
“It is the first time modern infrastructure standards have been applied in Georgia. These pilot interventions have improved road safety near the schools targeted by the project. They have created an incentive for the municipalities to continue working on reducing speed limits near school zones to 30 km/h and implement further infrastructure changes, which have also been positively evaluated by the local community.” – Gela Kvashilava, Founder and President, Partnership for Road Safety
“We have thousands of students and up to 100 employees. And all of them cross this zebra crossing several times a day. Before the zebra crossing was installed, unfortunately, there were several tragic crashes with fatalities. Our staff were always worried, and there were requests to upgrade the crossing that would guarantee safety.
I, myself, have heard many parents say that they are already hopeful of letting their children travel to school alone, that there is no need to take them to and from school.
This school is much safer than it was before because of this zebra crossing. It became much safer when appropriate signs were installed, and waiting areas were arranged in a safe place where children can comfortably wait for the bus, even in snow and rain. Along with safety improvements, sidewalks have become more beautiful, accessible and usable.
I say, once again, this is a guarantee of safety. This is very important for us, because every teacher of the school takes responsibility for every child to come to school safely and return home safely.” – Giuli Shengelia, Director, School No. 117
“The Georgian Automobile Sport Federation has been involved in this road safety project since its inception, and the Federation fully supports 30 km/h zones near schools and reducing speed limits. The lives of our children should be protected in these areas. I hope that other municipalities will also be involved in this campaign and many safe school zones will be created in the country” – Sandro Lomadze, President of Georgian Automobile Sport Federation
“This work to make Georgian journeys to school safe and healthy represents a significant collaboration between our partners EASST and iRAP, as well as the FIA and Georgian Automobile Sport Federation. Funded through our Child Health Initiative Advocacy Hub, these changes demonstrate the impact and scalability of child and youth focused road safety programmes using the Star Rating for Schools system.” – Aggie Krasnolucka, Programmes Director of the FIA Foundation