„Improving pedestrian safety in województwo małopolskie, Poland. Case study“ (2023-12-20)

Šaltinis: https://obserwatoriumbrd.pl/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/itf-safe-system-case-study-poland.pdf.

The Safe System Approach in Action
Improving pedestrian safety in województwo małopolskie, Poland
Case study

Cite this work as: ITF (2022), “Improving pedestrian safety in województwo małopolskie, Poland”, Case Study, ITF, Paris.

This case study was prepared by a joint International Transport Forum–World Bank Working Group convened in 2020–2021. The case study forms part of a package of materials accompanying the Working Group’s final report, The Safe System Approach in Action (ITF, 2022a).

The Safe System approach to road safety takes as its starting point the ethical position that there is no acceptable level of road deaths and serious injuries.

Recognising that pedestrians are at most risk at pedestrian crossings, the Polish region of Małopolska illuminated crossings and improved road markings. In addition, speed limits were reduced to 50km/h at pedestrian crossings across the regions on regional and national roads. The transformation of the Małopolska Voivodship Road Safety Council from an advisory body to an active unit with a dedicated budget was crucial to the project’s success.

In 2018, an analysis of the causes of road crashes involving pedestrians in województwo małopolskie [Małopolska Voivodship, or region] in Poland found that 68% of such crashes occurred in the vicinity of pedestrian crossings. The Małopolska Voivodship Police Headquarters in Cracow undertook a detailed assessment of the illumination of and road markings at pedestrian crossings for the whole region. The study identified a large number of deficiencies, especially related to illumination.

At the end of 2018, the Deputy Marshal of Małopolska made a significant decision: to transform the Małopolska Voivodship Road Safety Council from an advisory body into an active unit that would react to important problems and implement road safety programmes. The Council is composed of 30 organisations and institutions (including government institutions, non-profit organisations, media representatives, emergency services and road-management institutions at various local levels). The intention was to give to the Council a greater role in the road safety decision-making process.

After forming a local team dedicated to road safety, a common budget was created to cover the basic needs of the Council. This included prevention activities on the part of the members and common joint activities controlled and organised by one of the leaders of the Council. This gave members the possibility to lead prevention, but also to unite projects under one voice and leadership, giving them more strength and influence during implementation.

The main actors in this initiative were the members of the Małopolska Voivodship Road Safety Council, composed of 30 organisations responding directly to the Deputy Marshal of Małopolska. Other actors involved in different parts of the project included the commune self-governments of Małopolska; the Traffic Department of Małopolska Voivodship Police Headquarters in Cracow and the Cities and District headquarters; the Voivodship Road Authority in Cracow; the Board of Education in Cracow; Radio Krakow, Inspection of Road Transport in Cracow; the General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways in Cracow; the Małopolska Road Traffic Centers; the Center of Initiatives for Road Safety Improvement (CIBRD); Association Przejscie; and the European Federation of Road Traffic Victims (FEVR).

All interventions within the pedestrian project were based on four main pillars:
• Illumination of the pedestrian crossings in the region on all kinds of roads;
• reduction of speed limits before all pedestrian crossings on regional and national roads;
• prevention programmes aimed at pedestrians; and
• post-crash response and psychological help for road-crash victims and their families.

A reduction of speed limits to a maximum of 50 km/h before all pedestrian crossings on regional and national regional roads was implemented in the whole region of Małopolska.

In 2019, more than 200 pedestrian crossings on national, provincial, county and municipal roads were illuminated in the region. In this respect, Małopolska plays a leading role in the country, and the total amount allocated to this aim in 2019 was approximately PLN 7 million. In 2020, another 122 pedestrian crossings on national and provincial roads were illuminated in Małopolska Voivodship.

The Council also strengthened support for victims and families, providing additional post-crash care. This included strengthening and implementing a national commemoration of World Day of Remembrance; and financial support to broaden the workshops and psychological help for the victims and families; and the establishment of a professional system of post-crash response through the National Center for Trauma Recovery for victims and families in Zabawa, Małopolska

The Małopolska Voivodship Road Safety Council has a good understanding of Safe System principles. All partners agreed that road safety requires visible speed limits that should continue to be lowered. The speed limits were lowered, and additional police effort was implemented to enforce these limits.

The project required co-ordinated interventions and continuous transfer of knowledge. In order to implement it, the Council had regular contact with all partners and held up to three official meetings each month. It was also recognised that individual interventions (e.g. illumination of pedestrian crossings) required co-operation between all institutions, and safety culture required the integration of all partners.

As mentioned above, speed limits were reduced to a maximum of 50 km/h before all pedestrian crossings. There is an ambition to continue lowering speed limits, especially in urban areas.

Continuous promotional campaigns are being implemented on the negative consequences of speeding and the need to adjust speed to weather conditions, with a special focus on pedestrian crossings. These can aid support for government actions to more strongly address the problem.

The projects focused on pedestrians and their visibility. This included initiatives to illuminate pedestrian crossings. Other initiatives targeted students from the region (e.g. providing reflective materials for children, local events and initiatives such as debates, press interviews on safety, painting, knowledge contests and meeting with seniors to join common road safety goals), education via radio and television (showing practical examples from roads of positive and negative behaviours both drivers and pedestrians), and peer-to-peer education.

In 2021 the Polish Government started to apply the programme to the whole country, based on the experience gained in Małopolska, with a separate budget for county roads and municipal roads. By that time Małopolska had illuminated 322 pedestrian crossings in the region on different kinds of roads.
At the same time, the Polish Government introduced a set of changes to the Traffic Code relevant to pedestrian safety. These included priority of pedestrians when approaching pedestrian crossings, a ban on pedestrians’ phone use while crossing the road, speed limits of 50 km/h at all times in built-up areas, regulations regarding e-scooter traffic and safe distance between vehicles, as well as very strict penalties in the Penal Code for any offences or crime on the roads.

The decision to transform the Małopolska Voivodship Road Safety Council into an active organisation was an ideal solution, creating a consensus for improvements in road safety. It was very well received by local governments. The programme was initially aimed at provincial roads but given its success the Deputy Marshal broadened it to county roads as well.

The Council gained a greater role in decision-making on road safety in Małopolska with a local team dedicated to road safety, and a budget to cover the basic needs of the Council. This was made possible through strong political will and an understanding of the principle of shared responsibility.

A refusal on the part of public agencies to fund vital pedestrian safety work was the starting point for this project. The creation of an active and funded road safety council solved this problem and helped bring key stakeholders to meetings to achieve consensus on actions.

The programme of safety interventions at 322 crossing in the region, especially including lower speeds and illumination of crossings, acted as an effective pilot creating change in all of Poland. However, even the reduced speed limit of 50km/h is still too high for strong pedestrian safety. Change is occurring gradually but much more needs to be done for road safety in Poland.

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