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3M puts the next generation in the driver’s seat to promote safety in school zones

December 11, 2019

Innovative education programs and 3M solutions help children get to and from school more safely.

3M road safety Korea yellow carpet crossing with children

Urbanization across the globe has been accompanied by several side effects, one of which is increased traffic in contained areas. Along with this growth have come new, unexpected challenges, such as keeping small children safe on roads. It’s important that safety concerns, particularly for young children walking and biking in school zones, are promptly addressed. Let’s look at two countries where 3M technology is doing just that.

According to the business publication siliconindia, road traffic injuries in India account for approximately 38% of deaths among children ages 0 to 14 and between 62% and 64% of deaths among teens ages 14 to 18. In total, 150,000 people each year die in India as a result of traffic accidents. The Korea Times has reported that, according to police data, nearly 80% of fatal car accidents in the country involving children were reported in or near school crosswalks. Experts suggest these accidents can be caused either by lack of attention to approaching vehicles on the part of students or by excessive speed or lack of caution by motorists.

In high-traffic areas of quickly urbanizing countries around the world like India and Korea, 3M is using advanced technology and a bit of psychology to keep kids safer in school zones. This makes them feel more secure, gives their parents greater peace of mind, and helps train the next generation of drivers and pedestrians to create safer roads for everyone. Here’s what’s happening:

Creating change agents in India

3M India partnered with United Way and Concern for Road and Pedestrian Safety (CoRPS) to create the 3M Young Change Agents for Road Safety program to foster safer school zones across the country.

Students observe the zones around their schools to identify missing safety elements and unsafe behaviors on the part of motorists. Then they share a vision of what the safe zone around their schools should look like.

3M India brought students’ visions to life by creating safety improvements, including road signage and road markings. The result? A differentiated, visually attractive signage system for school zones. It’s a three-pronged approach, with communities, 3M India and regulatory bodies working together to make kids safer.

The program was implemented as a pilot at Jnana Prabodhini Prashala school in Pune, India, with 220 eighth- and ninth-graders participating. Prior to the program, the school had no crossing zone or speed limit signage, no drop-off/pick-up zone, no speed breakers or rumble strips, and no road furniture such as delineator posts. Now the school has fluorescent road signage, unique road markings and comprehensive road furniture. Students participating in the program received road safety kits, which included 3M reflective strips for bicycles, helmets and school bags, as well as reflective badges to pin on clothing to encourage personal safety.

In the initial stages of this program, 3M is aiming to help improve safety in school zones across Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Pune, with an overall goal of reaching out to over 50-100 schools in over 30 cities.

Walking “the Yellow Carpet” in Seoul

3M Korea collaborated with local communities, the International Child Rights Center and other nongovernmental organizations to better understand road safety issues. 3M Korea used the insights gleaned from these efforts to help launch the Yellow Carpet project, which creates bright yellow paths and signs with 3M Pavement Marking technology to catch the attention of children and drivers. These safety tools benefit both groups.

  • For kids, the Yellow Carpet creates a “nudge effect”; that is, it piques their interest and encourages them to remain in the yellow carpet zone.
  • For drivers, the Yellow Carpet provides a very noticeable pop of color, increasing their ability to see where the children are.

As of October 2019, 208 Yellow Carpets have been installed in Seoul proper, with an additional 401 Yellow Carpets installed throughout South Korea. The positive effects of the program are starting to come into focus, with a Visual Attention Software (VAS) analysis measuring the impact. Overall, the 3M high-performance materials used for the Yellow Carpet help to increase visibility in school zones up to 179%.1

In both India and Korea, the ultimate goal is to transform kids into adults who will advance safety and lead the charge to change an entire country’s attitude toward driving to help keep everyone, young and old, safer on the road.

Putting students on a safer path

3M is applying the company’s global expertise to school zone safety partnerships that are addressing the unique needs of populations around the world. And though it’s true that innovation alone can’t solve safety issues, it’s a powerful agent in the hands of people who care.

When the power of cutting-edge reflective road markings and traffic signs is combined with communities that are committed to raising awareness, providing education and protecting children, amazing things can happen. The ultimate goal? To chart a course that leads to a safer world for everyone.

  1. 2019 Study on Verification of Yellow Carpet Visibility Enhancement and its Effect on Traffic Safety. Internal 3M report: unpublished.

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