Before you implement a project, take a step back and ask yourself “What do I expect to achieve through this project?” “What has been done before in this community?” and “What challenges and/or opportunities will this project address?”
Once you have a clear understand of what, when, why, where and how you are going to implement your project, develop an implementation strategy with a clear goal, measurable objectives and enough funds to do a good job that will show results and save lives!
As outlined in the other sections of this toolkit, implementation must be guided by data, a strong evidence base and delivered by effective coalition working. Most often, it is not necessary to search for new solutions - the best-practice solutions have been developed and tested and are readily available. There must also be a strong focus on the most effective solutions for a particular context and on how impact can be achieved when budgets are often tight.
There are many different ways to develop an implementation strategy for safer routes to schools, but most follow these basic steps:
Step 1: Identify and engage stakeholders both internally and externally (see Coalition Building section)
Step 2: Define the community you will be working in – identify which schools will be involved in the project (see Data section)
Step 3: Conduct an assessment – what safety features need to be addressed around schools (see Data section)? It is important to know where the funding will come from to support the implementation of the project as well as the long term sustainability. Based on this, you can develop a long list of potential interventions, e.g. safer crossings, crossing supervision, speed reduction, etc.
Step 4: Prioritize or choose the most cost-effective interventions that will save as many lives as possible (see sections below). Think about what has been successful in the past, what the research says is most effective and what is most feasible to implement in the community. Consider replication and scalability.
Step 5: Develop an implementation strategy. Set goals and objectives for the strategies that you decide to adopt. These should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound). Tackle the most pressing issues first, but remember to include your target audience (in this case children) in the development of the strategy. One way of doing this is through PhotoVoice (see Data section). At this stage you should consider how you will evaluate the programme. Waiting until the project is up and running to consider how you will measure its success is ineffective.
Step 6: Implement your plan. Document the intervention at each step. Each intervention should be clearly linked to your objective(s) and must be targeted for optimal success. The interventions you choose should be realistic in terms of cost and the time to implement.
Step 7: Measure progress along the way (see M & E section under Data section). Indicators are critical to measuring progress and determined if changes need to be made along the way. Data sources must be identified at the outset, or a mechanism developed to collect new data and information. We would recommend engaging an academic to help identify indicators, data sources and analyse your progress if you are unsure of this step.
Step 8: Communicate your results. Work with the media to share your results to wider stakeholders through newspapers, social media, etc as well as with the head teachers of participating schools so your primary audience is kept informed and educated.
The interventions in the Save LIVES technical package apply to all age groups, but a particular focus on children is required. Limited by physical, cognitive and social development, young children are more vulnerable in traffic than adults. We must make special efforts to address their needs particularly as pedestrians and cyclists. Adolescents may be more prone to take risks, particularly as drivers of motorized two- or four-wheelers.
Policies that protect children effectively on the roads will also strengthen protection for all vulnerable road users and indeed the wider population.
The WHO’s Save LIVES technical package is based on good global practices. Child-focused interventions should be a key part of implementing all six elements of the package.
Limiting speeds to around 30 km/hr around schools has proven effective in protecting children and reducing road traffic injuries. Speed reduction measures around schools include sidewalks, speed humps and chicanes, signalized crossings, crossing supervision, safe play areas and the enforcement of speed limits.
Good road safety begins with good leadership and a strong lead agency. Countries that have reduced road traffic injury among children have:
Supervision is also key to protecting children on the roads, particularly in complex and risky road environments. Parents, teachers and caregivers can play an important role through education and supervision schemes, which are most effective when complementing other key interventions such as speed management. Partnerships between local communities, schools and the police to manage school crossing patrols and walking-bus initiatives can be effective, particularly when parents are at work and unable to supervise children.
Low speed leadership in Brazil
In São Paulo, WRI Brazil, Share the Road, and Instituto Clima e Sociedade prioritized children in urban redesign and involved them in the process. There, the quantity of cars increased by 31% from 1997 to 2007, and transport policies prioritized cars over people. Low-income children and adolescents often had no choice but to walk or cycle to school, placing them at high risk of injury or death. However, middle and higher income peers increasingly used private transport. Twice as many lower and middle-income public school children didn’t go to school in 2012 because they didn’t feel safe, compared to their higher income private school peers.
To play an active role in returning São Paulo’s streets to people, children conducted street audits. Walking school buses helped children commute safely.
Walking school buses, or pedibuses, are popular strategies to help children walk to school safely. They foster active transport and reduce demand for buses and vans, as well as associated municipal costs. WRI, Share the Road, and Instituto Clima e Sociedade included this mode of transport in their series of recommendations to promote active transport.
In 2010, pedibuses were implemented in 40 schools across low-income communities of Bogotá to reduce the high injury and fatality rate among children commuting to and from school. The pedibus not only provides children with a safe route to school, it also allows them to engage, learn, and play in urban environments on their daily journey.
Barranquilla also implemented walking school buses to revitalize the city, with children at its heart. There, walking school busses helped those between ages six and 12 stay safe on dangerous, busy roads. Safely exposing children to the city gave them more confidence to speak up, participate in decision-making, and voice their needs in a world of adults.
Political leadership is always key. As Mayor of São Paulo from 2013 to 2016, Fernando Haddad was a pioneer. His goal was to make São Paulo a city for all social classes, with children at its centre.
The built environment around schools should be designed or reconfigured to prioritize pedestrians and cyclists to make the journey to school as safe as possible. The provision of safe infrastructure such as uncluttered sidewalks, safe crossings, traffic calming measures, speed bumps, and supervised crossing should be a priority. Infrastructure for traffic calming, when linked to speed enforcement, can create effective low-speed zones around schools.
The Star Ratings for School App can be used to assess what infrastructural changes are required around schools. Once the app has generated treatment options, such as speed management, infrastructure modification, etc, these should be discussed with local stakeholders and a risk reduction assessment conducted. Based on the outcome of this assessment the team should agree and implement appropriate interventions in collaboration with local authorities.
Global street design guide
Many tools exist to identify the most cost-effective strategies to protect children. For examples. NACTO-GDCI has been applying tools and strategies from its Global Street Design Guide to implement street design projects around the world, in places such as Fortaleza, São Paulo, and Bogotá. Created with input from practitioners across 72 cities in 42 countries, the guide offers technical details to support street design that prioritizes pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders through real world examples.
To date, the guide has been endorsed by 37 cites, 25 organizations, one country and one region, and downloaded almost 10,000 times. It has been used for capacity building workshops and serves as a reference guide for practitioners developing their own street designs. It is also being used to support development of updated street design guides in several cities.
In applying design principles from the guide around the world, NACTO has seen that streets which are safe for children, elderly, and those with disabilities, are safe for all road users. All too often, however, streets are dangerous places for children and their caretakers. Consequently, injuries and fatalities among these populations are on the rise, and local practitioners are looking for guidance on strategies to reclaim their streets and make them safer places for kids.
Inspired by this perspective, NACTO is creating a Streets for Kids supplement to its guide together with the FIA Foundation’s Child Health Initiative, Bernard van Leer Foundation, and Botnar Foundation. Capturing international best practice in designing streets and public spaces that are safe and encourage play, the supplement will help practitioners see streets from the perspective of a child. It will include real world examples of programs and policies that cities have used to engage children in the design process, create new spaces for play, provide safe routes to schools, and improve streets overall. Examples and technical assistance will span a variety of contexts, including low- and middle-income countries.
Read the 'Save LIVES Infrastructure Design & Improvement' brochure
Watch the 'Save LIVES Road Safety Technical Package: Infrastructure design and improvement' video
Read the WRI blog '6 Road Design Changes That Can Save Lives'
Read the ITDP 'Bike Share Planning Guide'
Read the ITDP 'Streets for Walking and Cycling Guidebook'
Not all children walk or cycle to school. Some are transported as passengers in cars and buses. To improve vehicle safety for child passengers all vehicles should be fitted with ISOFIX child restraint anchorage points and all children transported in age appropriate child restraints. In addition, to protect child pedestrians, vehicles should comply with pedestrian protection that includes softer bumpers and modifications to the front ends of vehicles that reduce the severity of a pedestrian impact with a car. New Car Assessment Programmes can promote consumer awareness and demand for higher standards of safety for all car occupants including children.
Toolkit for child safety in cars
Proper use of child restraints is another important factor in the equation to protect children. Every parent deserves access to child restraints and information on how to use them properly, regardless of where they live and how much they earn. This requires legislation, awareness, education, and behaviour change, along with active participation from the public, governments, and expert voices such as automobile clubs.
To promote the use of car restraints throughout the region, Fundación Gonzalo Rodríguez launched the ‘EDU-CAR’ child seat campaign in Uruguay in 2008, supported by the FIA Foundation and the World Bank Global Road Safety Facility. Through research, training and awareness raising, the Fundación advocated for mandatory use of child restraints, which was successfully passed in 2012.
Replicating this success, automobile clubs worldwide are building awareness among governments, stakeholders, industry, and the public to reach a critical mass and advocate for child seat safety legislation. They have the technical knowledge, influence, and tools to communicate the vital importance of child restraint systems.
For example, in 2017, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates adopted child restraint legislation following an advocacy campaign by their auto clubs using the FIA’s ‘Toolkit for child safety in cars.’ The toolkit is part of the FIA’s ‘Action for Road Safety’ program, funded by the FIA Foundation and built on the principle that every country can improve its child restraint use. This digital advocacy and campaigning tool has been disseminated to member clubs involved in child road safety advocacy.
Designed to serve as a centralized resource database, the toolkit provides an advocacy manual, materials and methodology to conduct surveys, and visual materials to promote child restraint use. Developed to work in five different stages of legislation, the toolkit ranges from countries without child restraint and seat belt laws, to those with strong legislation and enforcement. In late 2016, pilot projects to help clubs use the toolkit, promote regulatory reforms, and raise public awareness began in Belarus, Chile, Japan, Mexico, Paraguay, United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay.
Many countries have laws to protect children on the roads but they are either not comprehensive or are not adequately enforced. Laws addressing child restraints should be set and/or enforced in all countries and helmet regulations should include addressing children as passengers particularly in countries where the motorcycle is the family vehicle. Laws and regulations to ensure seatbelts on school buses and the safety of school vehicles are often absent. Communication and social marketing strategies focused on the need to protect children are often an effective means of promoting public support for road safety enforcement.
Read the 'Save LIVES Enforcement of traffic laws' brochure
Watch the 'Save LIVES Road Safety Technical Package: Enforcement of traffic laws' video
Watch the 'America's favorite crossing guard winner' video
SHIFT-ing Behaviour to Save Children’s Lives in Thailand
In Thailand, traffic crashes kill more than 7 children a day and road crashes injure or disable almost 200 children each day. That’s 2,000 children losing their lives and 73,000 children injured on Thai roads in a year. Wearing a motorcycle crash helmet can significantly reduce the risk to children but only 7% of the 18 million child passengers in Thailand do so.
Save the Children and the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation (AIPF) are working together with global and regional experts on the “7% Project” – also known as the SHIFT project: the Shared Helmet Initiative for the Future of Thailand - a 3.5 year nation-wide initiative focusing on behaviour influence strategies, education, and enforcement to increase helmet use and helmet-wearing awareness among children. Bringing on board government agencies, corporate partners and media, the campaign will work to ensure that all children will be wearing helmets every time they travel as a passenger on a motorcycle, ultimately decreasing the number of road traffic injuries and fatalities across Thailand.
Sadly, we cannot prevent all collisions from occurring so a trauma response that can accommodate the needs of children is required. This ranges from training teachers and school transport drivers in safe immediate stabilization of injuries; equipping emergency vehicles with child-sized medical equipment and supplies; and improving paediatric-specific rehabilitation services for children.
Read the 'Save LIVES Survival after a crash' brochure
Watch the 'Save LIVES Road Safety Technical Package: Survival after a crash' video
Read the WHO's 'Post-crash response' booklet
Read the WHO's 'Youth and road safety' booklet
Road traffic deaths are the ninth leading cause of death across all age groups and account for around 1.4 million deaths and up to 50 million non-fatal injuries around the world every year. In addition to the grief, suffering and cost to victims and their families, road traffic crashes constitute an important public health and development problem with significant health and socioeconomic costs. Road crashes cost most countries around 3% of their gross national product.
Children are on the front line, exposed to the dangers of traffic each day on their journey to and from school, and on other trips, with little protection. Vulnerable on the roads, and unable to cope with the consequences following injury, the poor and the young suffer multiple, ongoing impacts from road trauma. Of course it is not only children who are killed or injured, and the loss of a parent, or other breadwinner, can have devastating effects on household economies, educational opportunities and can set a lifelong downward trajectory for families.
Investing in safer journeys to school for children saves not only lives, but also money. Simple solutions such as providing footpaths and safe crossing points and reducing vehicle speeds are relatively low-cost but highly effective public health investments. For example, evidence indicates that speed bumps are particularly effective interventions with one study demonstrating a cost of only $10.90USD for each disability-adjusted life year saved. Interventions undertaken in Tanzania by Amend, with support from the FIA Foundation, have demonstrated that low cost infrastructure improvements on the schools with the highest road traffic injury rates prevents one road traffic injury for every 286 at-risk children, reducing injury rates by at least a quarter, and serious head injuries by half.
Michael is a young boy from an ordinary family in Accra, Ghana – his father works for a trader in car spare parts, and his mother has a small business selling disposable cups, plates and cutlery.
However, in November 2015 he suffered a major setback when he was hit by a ‘trotro’ – a public minibus – on his way home from school. The roads around the school are busy at home-time, and there are no safe crossing places, so every day the pupils have to dart between traffic. The driver of the trotro was going fast and did not see Michael. Michael was dragged along underneath the vehicle for several metres before it eventually came to a stop.
All of the passengers disembarked and the trotro driver, with the assistance of one passenger, rushed Michael to hospital. One ankle, one hip and both of his knees were badly broken. He remained in hospital for two months, and had two major operations.
He is now back at home, but has not yet been able to return to school and has to visit the hospital twice a week. He cannot walk properly, and cannot play with his friends. But his biggest concern is to not fall behind in school. At home, he sticks strictly to the school timetable, using his books to teach himself. Incredibly, he remains cheerful and optimistic.
Michael’s parents and extended family support him as well as their means allow. The medical bills and other expenses have come to over $2,000, which was beyond the means of his parents, even more so as their combined monthly income of around $125 reduced when Michael’s mother had to leave her job to care for him. Michael’s aunt took out a bank loan of around $1,300 – with an astronomical interest rate. The National Health Insurance Scheme, with which Michael is registered, has covered very little of the costs. Recognising Michael’s potential, his family are doing everything they can to support his education, even to the detriment of some of his siblings.
Read about 'Crash costing' on iRAP's Road Safety Toolkit
Read iRAP's 'The true cost of road crashes' report
Read 'The Cost of Inaction: Can We Afford Not to Invest in Road Safety?'
Read 'Making the Economic Case for Reducing Road Traffic Deaths and Serious Injuries'
Cost minimization: The least costly way to achieve a specific outcome. Several equally effective interventions are assessed to find out which one is the cheapest to implement. For example, speed humps, chicanes, roundabouts all reduce speed and speed-related collisions, injuries and deaths.
Cost-effectiveness: The least costly way of achieving a specific health outcome, e.g. reductions in head injuries because of helmet use. Usually expressed as a cost effectiveness ratio, i.e. cost of the intervention (in this case a helmet) /unit of health outcome (injury averted).
Cost benefit: The least costly way of achieving any positive benefit. This allows comparisons between health and non-health outcomes and is the most complete, but most difficult analysis to undertake.
The Safe System Approach is a holistic framework used to examine road traffic injury risk factors and interventions. It is based on Sweden’s Vision Zero strategy, which has the long-term vision of achieving no fatal or serious injuries within the transport system. There are four guiding principles behind the approach which are:
In developing and implementing a safe journey to school programme remember to think about the road user, the environment and road infrastructure, and the vehicles. Addressing just one aspect of the system is unlikely to have a meaningful and lasting public health impact.
Modern school zones project
Safe Kids Worldwide is working with 10 schools, one in each of 10 different countries, to develop safer school zones. Using the systems approach, the Model School Zone project works toward four types of change in each school zone:
Environment changes to the infrastructure around schools such as building sidewalks, creating crosswalks, and installing speed limit and traffic signs.
Increasing awareness and knowledge among children, parents and teachers so that everyone understands the safest ways to behaviour and knows the road safety laws.
Working with the police and lawmakers to set policies, establish and enforce speed limits and manage the streets and sidewalks around schools to make them as uncluttered and safe for children as possible.
Change the behaviour of all road users to improve the safety of everyone travelling to and from school.
Armed with the results of school assessments, site visits, and discussions with relevant authorities and the community, decisions can be made of what minor infrastructural changes could be incorporated into a road safety implementation package in the school zone. Based on this information, an implementation proposal should be written which covers activities, deliverables, responsibilities, timelines, necessary approvals and resources necessary (including financial). Budgeting for the infrastructural changes will require obtaining quotes from engineering and construction firms who will carry out the work. Most government authorities will have a list of approved contractors to carry out such roadworks.
In collaboration with the schools, education authorities and, if needed, education consultants, develop a package of road safety education material to be delivered to students at the school whilst the infrastructural work is being carried out. The material should cover basic importance of road safety as well as specific information regarding the infrastructural changes being made to the school environment. This can be paired with other Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials and public awareness campaigns to highlight the SARSAI project. Involvement and regular communication with all stakeholders from project design through actual implementation is crucial for the success of the project. Activities such as workshops, stakeholder meetings, and townhall meetings should be organised at regular intervals throughout, and when the construction of the infrastructural changes has been completed. For example, organize a ribbon-cutting event at the school with all the relevant stakeholders to launch the project.
In partnership with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, AMEND conducted a multi-year population-based control study impact evaluation of SARSAI. 18 schools were identified (9 intervention and 9 control schools) using the SARSAI method. Surveys were carried out in households with 12,957 school-aged children at baseline and 13,555 children at follow-up. In the intervention schools, a SARSAI programme was fully implemented at a cost of approximately US$18,000 per school. Infrastructural changes included:
The evaluation found that the SARSAI programme results in a statistically significant reduction in the number of children injured in road traffic. For every 286 children whose schools are part of the SARSAI programme, one RTI is prevented per year. This is the first known road safety programme of any type proven to reduce RTI among children in sub-Saharan Africa. The methodology consisted of before and after household surveys in catchments areas of both intervention and control schools allowing for a more rigorous evaluation. Details of this evaluation can be found here.
Cities sometimes struggle to implement a safe system approach through Vision Zero because a target of zero deaths is so ambitious. However, starting with youth - the most vulnerable population, which is often less politically contentious - can help build momentum towards Vision Zero.
Starting with a smaller population and an achievable target through city-wide or school specific efforts to protect youth can help cities gain political and community buy-in to a wider approach. This is how Vision Zero for Youth was born, encouraging cities that don’t have Vision Zero to begin with a target of zero fatalities for youth, and cities with Vision Zero to adopt and strive for that target.
Starting with a pilot project, ITDP and the FIA Foundation worked with a public school known for its active community and committed teachers, Secundaria 4 Moisés Sáenz. They held community workshops and brought together teachers and students to identify the most dangerous intersection near the school, learn about different traffic calming measures, and implement a temporary street redesign. Directly involving students in changing streets increases road safety awareness, empowers them to create the streets they want, and exposes them to career options in urban design, road safety, public health, and related fields.
They gained media attention from major outlets. With the help of volunteers from AXA, an insurance company, and the Urban Management Agency, ITDP made the temporary changes permanent, widening sidewalks, reducing pedestrian crossing length, installing speed humps, and adding bollards. ITDP plans to work with the new administration to scale up the project and implement it in other schools, while also working with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct conflict analysis, assessing near misses before and after interventions.
At an August 28, 2018 meeting with the FIA Foundation and the Inter-American Development Bank, they launched their report detailing the successful pilot Vision Zero for Youth project. The report, “ Vision Zero for Youth: Making streets safer one school at a time” outlines successes and challenges, and can be used as a model to replicate and scale the project elsewhere. They also launched a report evaluating Vision Zero in the city to provide guidance to the new administration on continuing and improving the initiative.
Key to the success of the initiative was placing children at the heart of the political agenda, and getting support from the Mayor for the Child Health Initiative declaration and Vision Zero for Youth. Vision Zero for Youth is an a-political strategy that is resilient to administration changes. ITDP is focusing on ensuring continuity through the administration of Mayor-elect, Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo, due to begin her six-year term in December 2018.
Learning from National Center for Safe Routes to School, ITDP now uses Walk to School Day to continue momentum behind Vision Zero for Youth. The one-day event can increase the number of students who walk or bike to school long after the day of the event. In the US, over half of the events have led to permanent changes in communities.
Both organizations are committed to sharing knowledge among cities to help Vision Zero for Youth gain momentum worldwide. Bogotá has recently become the first city in South America to sign on to the initiative. With a goal of zero fatalities for youth since the city started implementing Vision Zero, it is working in 2200 school zones to implement speed management.
School population: 990 (2017)
Anecdotal road traffic injuries (based on school report) in past year: Four (2016)
Infrastructural improvements: a short length of footpath, speed hump, zebra crossings, signage, bollards, two small pedestrian bridges over a ditch (to encourage children to cross at the correct place and also walk off road). A small gate was also introduced for the sole use of pedestrians.
Average cost per school: USD$25,000 (including infrastructural changes and staff costs)
Infrastructural Improvements at Tlhabologo Primary School I
Infrastructural Improvements at Tlhabologo Primary School II
Infrastructural Improvements at Tlhabologo Primary School III
Post Implementation Event at School with Pupils Skit
Tlhabologo Primary School: Speeds at School Entrances ‘Before’ and ‘After’ Implementation
|Tlhabologo Primary School||Speeds (km/hr)|
% Change from Baseline
School population 1,579 (2018)
Anecdotal road traffic injuries (based on school report) in past year: Six (2017)
Infrastructural improvements: footpath, speed humps, zebra crossing, signage and bollards
Infrastructural Improvements at Mikumi and Mzimuni Primary Schools I
Infrastructural Improvements at Mikumi and Mzimuni Primary Schools II
Infrastructural Improvements at Mikumi and Mzimuni Primary Schools III
Ribbon Cutting at Mikumi and Mzimuni Primary Schools with Minister of State Present
Mikumi and Mzimuni Primary Schools: Speeds at School Entrances ‘Before’ and ‘After’ Implementation
|Mikumi and Mzimuni Primary schools||Speeds (km/hr)|
% Change from Baseline
In Mexico City, 60% of children walk to school and are from low- and middle-income families. Often, they walk with grandparents – meaning the two most vulnerable populations are engaging in the most dangerous but necessary activity. To save lives, ITDP replicated lessons learned from Vision Zero for Youth in the US, collaborating with government, schools, media, and the community, and plans to scale it up nationally.
Mexico City had adopted Vision Zero, but it lost momentum. Like many others, the city had traditionally approached road safety though isolated policies focused on unsafe infrastructure, inadequate behaviours, or harsh sanctions. Vision Zero meant embracing an integrated strategy encompassing a wide range of prevention measures, but momentum faltered in achieving what seemed to be an unreachable goal of zero deaths on its roads.
Meanwhile, Vision Zero for Youth was gaining traction nearby in the USA. Cities with Vision Zero pledge to reach zero fatalities among youth by incorporating plans specific to children, and cities without Vision Zero utilize youth as a catalyst to build support for a wider approach. The National Center for Safe Routes to School implements Vision Zero for Youth nationwide, and is engaging in international knowledge exchange to help others learn from its success.
ITDP translated this success to Mexico City, which became the first emerging economy to implement both Vision Zero for Youth and Vision Zero. It was the spark necessary to reignite momentum behind Vision Zero.
ITDP capitalized on Vision Zero’s emphasis on protecting vulnerable road users – children. In Mexico, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among children ages five to 15, the second for those between the ages of 15 and 2947, and the seventh cause of death for all age groups. Pedestrians represent nearly half of total fatalities on roads. Speed is a known issue in Mexico, blamed for over half of injuries occurring on the country’s highways. Child pedestrians are at particularly high risk.
ITDP saw an opportunity to save lives by piloting Vision Zero for Youth in low-income areas of Mexico City, with support from the FIA Foundation. They built upon the Vision Zero strategy to include and implement a safe system for children, namely:
Source: Streets for Life report, page 26