Zambia passed a new national law in 2019 that reduced speed limits on urban roads to 30km/h. Since then, Zambia Road Safety Trust (ZRST) has been collaborating with the government to implement the law in school zones, working school by school.
ZRST’s efforts have been assisted by the LEARN project, a joint initiative from the Alliance and IRF, which brings together different sectors to put data at the heart of road safety decision-making. It has been implemented in six countries across Africa. In Zambia, ZRST organized a LEARN workshop involving government officials from Ministry of Transport and Logistics, the Transport and Safety Agency, the Zambia Police, the Ministry of Education, the Lusaka City Authorities, NGOs and private sector partners. Through the workshop, the partners created a collective action plan that outlined the roles that each sector needed to play in order to successfully implement the 30 km/h law and ensured that they had the information and resources necessary to do so.
The action plan has now been put into action using the LEARN methodology. In order to gather information around schools and other busy areas with lots of pedestrians, the police are collaborating with NGOs, including ZRST. In each street, they map the risks faced by pedestrians, cyclists and other road users. As part of the evaluation of traffic risk, crash data involving school-age children, traffic counts of vehicles, and speed counts are gathered. They are using this data to make recommendations regarding which schools should be prioritized for 30 km/h signs and other speed calming interventions and pedestrian facilities such as speed bumps, sidewalks, and pedestrian crossings. The recommendations also support the police in identifying specific school zones where 30 km/h speed limits should be enforced more strictly.
The police are implementing speed limits and other recommendations at the school zones that are most at risk first using the NGOs’ recommendations. Following implementation, the Ministry of Education is tracking crash and injury statistics to help illustrate how valuable 30 km/h limits are.
Private sector investment through the LEARN coalition has been crucial in supporting the implementation of interventions, such as nationwide installation of 30 km/h signage, and to leverage further funding. ZRST has recently obtained funds from Vital Strategies that will be utilized to acquire mobile speed enforcement cameras to exclusively enforce school zone speed limits of 30 km/h.
Daniel Mwamba, Chairman of ZRST says, “We appreciate the lessons the LEARN project taught us since they allowed us to employ methodical techniques to aid in the implementation of the 30 km/h speed limits. Sustainability has been ensured by collaboration with partners, saving the lives of the majority of school-going children.”