The number of accidents that happen because of poor road maintenance is huge. That is why we decided to work on improving this situation by approaching it from different angles, aiming to make the road a safer place for both drivers and pedestrians.
For starters it must be mentioned that the problem of bad roads is quite extensive in our country. Though, after researching of number of accidents related to the issue and ways of dealing with them, we decided that our project has to be concentrated on changes that can be made in our neighborhood. However the ideas that we have can be implemented all over Ukraine. These focus on several areas like: road safety, risky behaviors, responsible behaviors, actors of prevention, circular economy and, of course, street safety and safety for all.
From the beginning we had an idea of working out a plan for our neighborhood as we know most about this area. That is why we elaborated a three-sided improvement scheme for road safety via implementing changes in: the legal responsibility of road users, city infrastructure, and specifically through updating crossings for pedestrians. This was necessitated by the fact that we not only have roads and pavements in bad condition but do not have enough equipped spaces for different groups of people.
The first steps in changing the system of responsibility, such as paying fines and the like, would be to install traffic lights in corresponding places, especially those that have a high level of accidents happening nearby. This would lead to the next step in monitoring traffic, giving legal notice to lawbreakers and charging them with fines or other penalties. All of the above-mentioned would change behavior on the road from risky to responsible. The system should work impeccably and provide prompt reaction to violations of the law. That is how actors of prevention start to fulfill their duty and improve the state of the circular economy.
We thought of a three-notice rule for violators according to which, after a first transgression, a driver would have to pay a fine and would get a mark on his license. A second transgression would mean a double-size fine and second mark; and a third one would be the last, as a driver would lose his license for one year.
As for changes in infrastructure, we reckon that improving the state of roads would do good but, what is more important, we should think of ways of securing safe road crossings for everyone. That is not only updating the striping, adding more signs but also equipping all of these with LEDs and creating new crossings. The crossings should be over-the-road with a setup for elderly and disabled people.
Therefore, to our thinking, the ideas that we came up with need to work to improve street safety for all while dealing with a number of other issues. This pushed us to think of different approaches to the questions, which developed into a presentation that you can find attached, along with different initiatives that we’ve offered.
Thus, we defined our project as “Road safety improvement”, which means thinking about different people, their needs as well as drivers who are often just victims of circumstance. There were several initiatives that sprang from our ideas. We’ve got a high level of ownership over our work as the project was merely guided by the teacher, who also helped us in organizing other activities and meetings.
First of all, we tried to get a grasp of how much people know about the issue, i.e. about the traffic code. Our primary desire was to concentrate on raising awareness among our follow students. So together with other students, who also participate in this contest, we led a campaign in the school through which children had a mission and created short leaflets, drawings and posters about road laws. This made them more aware and more interested in changing our situation.
While working on this campaign we created a presentation that we projected during a session, where we discussed road safety with our peers from other forms. This moved their views a bit and pointed out what the real problems are in our neighborhood. After that we had further discussions and lots of students expressed eagerness to participate. The level of involvement of our classmates in the further discussions was very high, which was much more than we would’ve expected.
As our project became popular among classmates, we had a short radio-conversation in our school to involve more people. In this way, we managed to reach almost everyone in our school. All in all we managed to combine informative and fun activities so that more people could participate.
Even though the topic concerns everyone, we made a decision to keep the initiative to our school for a while so that we can develop it more, in order to reconsider some points and get a deeper understanding, and then present it afterwards to our peers from other schools and maybe gather people for implementing the project. Our final aim would be to present this project to the authorities of our district and then to the city council.
Working on this project helped us to develop not only the ideas related to the burning issues of our society. It also helped us to learn how to have an influence and how to meet the demands of society, as well as how to go about structuring the project. Hopefully all of this will help us to make a difference.