Road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for children five years and older worldwide, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To help protect the lives of pedestrians – children – 3M announced today its commitment to increase safety and visibility in 100 school zones in 23 countries around the world by 2024.
In India, 25 school zones will be spread across cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Chennai. While the data on child fatality is a cause of serious concern, it is pertinent to note that an estimated 472 million children under the age of 18 years live in India, and 27% of this child population is concentrated in urban areas (source: Status of Children in Urban India, 2016).
“Most fatal crashes take place during school peak hours. Creating awareness among government stakeholders about the importance of prioritizing child safety, and providing them with the knowledge and tools to achieve the same will help in creating a safe and accessible city for our children,” says Ramesh Ramadurai, Vice President and Managing Director, 3M India.
By 2030, it is estimated that 40% of the total population will live in urban areas. This also means that our cities will become home to an increasing number of children in the upcoming decade. Therefore, the immense need to build child-friendly cities which can provide a safe and secure environment needed for the growth and well-being of children cannot be overlooked.
Underdeveloped roadways, a lack of crosswalks and poor visibility in school zones put our youngest pedestrians at particular risk when walking and biking to and from school. The rate at which these incidents happen drastically increases within low-income countries and communities indicating a clear need for change, according to the World Health Organization. 3M recognizes the urgency in addressing these dangers and the need for safer school zones.
“3M’s commitment to improving school zone safety centres on the belief that every child deserves a chance at an education and getting to school safely shouldn’t be a barrier,” says Dr Dan Chen, president, 3M Transportation Safety Division. “Over the next two years, we will work with NGOs and government agencies to improve safety in school zones and develop a scalable model for high-risk and under-resourced communities to create safer roads for all children.”
For more than eight decades, 3M’s Transportation Safety Division has had the mission to advance transportation infrastructure and mobility globally. The installation of high-performance road materials and technologies, like Diamond Grade Reflective Sheeting for school zone signage and Pavement Marking Tape to help improve reflectivity and visibility for motorists and pedestrians, have helped families return home safely.
And while technology and innovation are necessary steps to create safer road conditions, 3M continues to collaborate and work with communities, civic and government leaders, policymakers, NGOs and other organizations to help lead change and create safer roadway systems globally.
3M Young Change Agents for Road Safety (YCARS) is an initiative by 3M India in partnership with Concern for Road and Pedestrian Safety and United Way of Bengaluru. YCARS is a program executed at schools that empowers students in India to design solutions for the zones around their schools to be safer. 3M engineers then work to bring many of the students’ recommendations to life by installing innovative 3M road safety solutions by working closely with local road authorities