In Bengaluru, it is estimated that nearly 90 % of children live within 5 kmfrom the school and 58% walk to school.
A web based GIS (Geographic Information Systems) tool ‘Safer Access to Schools’ (SATS), which is touted to help civic agencies in designing infrastructure to ensure safer commute for schoolgoing children — one of the vulnerable roads users — was launched here on Tuesday, by the World Resources Institute (WRI), India with support from Underwriters Laboratories.
Some of the insights of mapping indicate that as of 2019 road accident fatalities occurred during the opening and the closure of school hours; around 227 (31%) pedestrian crash fatalities and 46 (6%) children’s fatalities owing to road accidents happened within 250 metres of the school zone.
In addition, 64 crash fatalities happened within 100 metres and 75 crash fatalities occurred at bus stops likely to used by school children.
WRI said that the SATS tool will address the gap in implementation of safety measures around schools by providing integrated data sets that can be utilised by city agencies, traffic police, civic groups, schools, and researchers in their coordinated efforts to plan and implement a safer school environment for the children.
Pedestrians account for 37% of road fatalities between 2017-2020 and 50% of the pedestrian deaths occurred on the major arterial road networks. The data reveals that 20% of pedestrian deaths also occur near metro stations and major bus stands.
The tool was launched at the ‘Enabling Safer Streets for Bengaluru’ session at WRI India’s event ‘Connect Karo 2021’. Participating in the session, Joint Commissioner (Traffic) B.R. Ravikanthe Gowda said, “Unfortunately, there is not enough space for pedestrians to walk on the road. Compared to CBD areas, more pedestrian fatalities in road accidents are getting reported in outer parts of the city. There is need for prioritising safety of pedestrians while designing the roads.”
“When we break down the data of the 40% preventable deaths among children due to road traffic crashes, we see 60% of the deaths are of 15 and 18-year-old children, basically those more active on streets. For every death, there are also 30 severe injuries and 70 moderate injuries that do not get recorded. We need medical surveillance data also to be a part of the system,” said Gautham M.S., Assistant Professor, Epidemiology and Public Health at NIMHANS.
B.S. Prahalad, Chief Engineer (Roads and Infrastructure), Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, said that the civic agency has developed more than 150 km of footpaths and is working on developing 58 km of footpaths under Smart City.
He added that there is a proposal to build 5 km of footpath in each ward.