500 children lose their lives in traffic accidents every day. Many of these occur while walking to and from school. In response to this lesser known epidemic, the International Road Assessment Program aided the development of an app that gauges the safety of walking routes around schools. The Star Rating for Schools app was officially launched in February with the goal to reduce the number of casualties amongst children in pursuit of an education.
Child Road Casualties
To take just one country as an example, in an average week in Britain, 37 children are seriously injured, one fatally, while using the road. The majority of these (69 percent) are pedestrians. 72 percent of child road casualties on a school day occur between 8:00 AM and 8:59 AM or 3:00 PM and 6:59 PM. This means that the majority of casualties occur while children are going to and from school. 55 percent of the children who are fatally or seriously injured during these times are walking. More children are fatally or seriously injured walking home from school than walking to school.
One To Five Star Rating
The Star Rating for Schools app measures the risk level of home-to-school or school-to-home walking routes for children who must take these journeys. It does this by collecting data on traffic, road features, and various other conditions that can affect a route’s safety rating. Safety ratings are given on a 1 to 5 scale.
App users, whether they are students or parents, can therefore check the ratings of walking routes as if they were Yelp restaurants to gauge if the trips are worth it. FVF Law Firm notes that a “significant number of pedestrian accidents are caused by driver error,” so drivers should use this app to determine vulnerable routes and exercise caution around them. After collecting road safety data, the app makes recommendations to schools and councils on how to make their routes safer for current and future children.
The app was launched with the participation of roughly 1,000 schools around the world. Ratings have been given to school walking routes in India, America, Serbia, Bulgaria, Mexico, Greece, South Africa and many other countries. Hopefully many more are to follow.
Star Rating for Schools is making walking routes safer for the world’s most vulnerable residents: schoolchildren. A proper education is arguably the most important tool for lifelong success. As such, this app benefits not just children and their parents, but society as a whole.