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THB’s Safe Steps for Schools™
Learning doesn’t end in the classroom. It is our duty as parents, guardians and adults to teach the children of today to be safe on the streets. With over 15,000 road accidents involving pedestrians under the age of 16 recorded last year, it is imperative that schools are continually adapting and improving road safety outside of their schools. It is no surprise that the number of accidents peak between the hours of 8-9am and 3-4pm in conjunction with school opening and closing times, and these figures are increasing year on year. Government campaigns to build awareness and help improve the behaviour of children when crossing the road are commonplace. Yet it begs the question - what more could be done to raise such awareness? Historically, school road-safety campaigns rolled-out across the UK have achieved varied levels of success. It would be fair to say that now is the time to take a different approach to those taken previously. Campaigns commonly tend to use various media platforms (i.e. broadcast advertising, billboards, radio and social media), all of which carry a continued, substantial financial cost and involve extensive planning with limited, tangible results to go by.
National road surfacing specialist THB have devised a solution to help tackle this growing problem. Safe Steps for Schools™s launched in January of this year, showcasing a bespoke road crossing that incentivises children to cross the road correctly outside of their primary school in a fun and visual way. The newly launched road crossing material comprises of highly durable, skid-resistant and environmentally friendly preformed markings with a striking and colourful design that matches any specification, and any type of crossing. Furthermore, preformed “footsteps” guide children to and from the crossing. On pavements, colourful animal paw prints and footsteps lead to and from the crossing in a trail as a means of encouraging the children to follow the prints and use the appropriate crossing provided.
The initiative, however, goes further than to simply promote the use of the appropriate road crossing, closest to the school. It is a visual programme that also aims to re-educate school-children’s parents. One recurring issue highlighted by primary schools across greater London (as part of a regional research campaign conducted by THB), was the poor example set to children by their adult chaperone when crossing the road. Common behaviours included parents leading their children in between parked cars, not using the crossing provided and in some cases waving at cars to slow them down. Behaviours that all come with a risk attached.
By incorporating visual and striking elements into the design, the crossing will also increase driver awareness when approaching the crossing. As part of The London Design Festival in 2017, THB worked in conjunction with Lambeth Council and global design house Eley-Kishimoto. The objective was to design and install colourful “Flash” pedestrian crossings in a bid to change pedestrians’ everyday experience of crossing a road. The areas have a high volume of cars, cyclists and pedestrians; often making them precarious places to navigate. After installing the crossings, feedback from everyday locals was extremely positive; not only transforming the area but in-turn helped to increase driver-awareness when approaching the crossings. The same improvement will apply to the Safe Steps for Schools™ crossings that replicate a similar design.
For THB to be able to create a long-lasting, non-toxic, cost-effective crossing that is environmentally friendly; it became clear that using a preformed thermoplastic material would be the best product for Safe Steps for Schools™. The application process involves administering a specialised primer and then laying premade thermoplastic pieces in place (like a jigsaw) on top of the road surface. The preformed material is then bonded to the surface through heat application. As a result, it is a cost effective alternative to other solutions and provides a more professional finish. The materials provide premium high UV resistant colours with a lifespan ten times longer than traditional paints. This ensures colour is retained regardless of weather conditions and frequency of use. This enables safety to remain as the highest priority, and is complemented by an anti-slip coating. The paints used in the materials are non-toxic and contain no lead or chromates to ensure the safety of children. Furthermore, using preformed Thermoplastic enables intricate, complex designs to be created and is a material much easier to lay as opposed to other materials that require hand application. Using preformed thermoplastic as the crossing material is also less time-consuming, and therefore causes less disruption to traffic.
THB’s Safe Steps for Schools™ programme launched in February 2018, with the first crossing installed in Croydon, to improve safety for the schoolchildren at Crescent Primary School. The programme will see THB engaged by a number of local authorities across the UK and throughout 2018.
Contact THB to learn more on our Safe Steps for Schools™ road crossing.