They make their own way to school safer

Bryn skole is one of only twelve primary schools who have adopted ‘The Traffic Agent’, a mobile app developed by Agency of Urban Environment.

Published: Wednesday, December 23, 2015 11:41 AM

Editorial Staff

They make their own way to school safer

Pupils at all primary schools in Oslo can now do their own way to school safer, according to an article about the project in Norwegian Newspaper Dagsavisen written by journalist Tor Sandberg.

Yet, it’s only every tenth primary schools in Oslo that participating in the new, unique project so far.

Bryn skole is one of only twelve primary schools who have adopted ‘The Traffic Agent’, a mobile app developed by Agency of Urban Environment.

With this app, launched in February, children can report hazards on the way to school.
The school children at Bryn have not squandered the chance to give feedback about road safety in their neighborhood.

School pupil Celina Eikemo Melby explains:
"Along with my friend Nelly I reported that there were many trees here in Solkroken. We would not be able to see the car when it arrives here".

Have you experienced that it happened?
"Yes, it was a car that came close to me", answers the pupil from fifth grade.

Are there many pupils at Bryn skole passing Solkroken on their way to school?
"Yes, there are quite a few who walks here", Celina replies.


Not dangerous anymore
Celina and the other pupils do not need to worry about “invisible” cars in Solkroken anymore. The other day Jarle Vestby and Even Stenbråten, on mission from Agency of Urban Environment, traveled out as a direct consequence of Celinas message about the dangerous spot on the way to school. With a chainsaw all branches and shrubbery that could hide cars was removed in a snap.
A sign that marks the walk and cycle path will soon be moved to make the way to school safer for children. This will also make it more difficult to park a car in the area.
Celina says:
"It is very nice that they do something about this".

Principal at Bryn Skole Eva Sørby agrees.
"The fact that they actually came with a chainsaw motivates us to report inn more dangerous spots on the children’s route to school".

More reports about safe and dangerous spots from pupils is exactly what project leader want most of all in the days and weeks ahead. Preferably, she will have such reports from all primary schools in Oslo in order to form the most comprehensive possible picture of what kind of challenges kids face on the way to school.

Rørholt explains:
"I hope both the Teachers and Parent-teacher association (PTA) by far more schools than today can show some enthusiasm and contributes to this application being put into use". 

NOK 20 mill to securing school roads
What does it take to start using it?

- A smartphone, and if there are kids who don’t own one, they can borrow one for two days. And the app is designed to allow even first-graders can easily use it to give us information about their way to school.

Will you be able to respond if you suddenly start to get many reports of dangerous spots on school roads? Do you really have the necessary resources?

In from the sidelines comes commissioner for environment and transport Guri Melby (V). She has made the trip to Bryn skole for just answer that question.
"The budget for securing school roads have been almost tripled to NOK 20 mill".

She is very focused on that all the funds are being spent as quickly as possible.

She adds:
"Fortunately there are very few children who are injured on the way to school, but accidents occur constantly".

She notes that it often can be far more challenging for children than adults to move around in traffic.
"For a kid on 130 cm both vegetation and parked cars can provide a challenge".

She adds:
"‘The Traffic Agent' is therefore very important for the children’s road safety. The application involves a creative and new manner to secure that the kids are heard in terms of that they even get the chance to tell us about what they experience."

Research project
Rørholt enlighten:
"The pupil’s reports about dangerous spots on their way to school will also be included in a research project at the Institute of Transport Economics".

The use of a mobile app to secure has already been noticed internationally. Later this fall the initiative will be presented in conjunction with a conference in Frankfurt.
If not all this should be enough to motivate more schools to become users of ‘The Traffic Agent’, Rørholt can tempt with a prize of NOK 10,000 to the student council which is able to mobilize most pupils to report hazards on their way to school. The contest runs until September 18th.

Children reports forming consequences

This is repeated in the messages from children who have adopted Agency of Urban Environment application:

  • Poor visibility due to shrubs, turns and parked cars.
  • Both cars and cyclists at high speed.
  • Traffic that does not stop for the children, making it difficult to cross the road.

 

As a result of these messages, the following measures have been implemented/being planned:

  • In Solkroken nearby Teisenveien shrubs and undergrowth have been pruned.
  • It will make the area more transparent and it will be safer to cross the road and to use pedestrian and bicycle path.
  • In Etterstadgata close to Vålerenga skole Oslo Municipality plan to expand the parking ban, so that it becomes more transparent to cross the road.
  • Other measures because of conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists will also be considered.
  • In Fjellhus Allé the Municipality considers to tighten up or rebuild a intersection and built better walking areas.

 

Source: Agency of Urban Environment