International Health BSc
Summary of full proposal
This research project is entitled ‘Safe pedestrian practices: the perception of children in Sri Lanka’. Road traffic accidents are one of leading causes of death amongst child pedestrians in low-income countries. Despite this, little research has been done into effective interventions to reduce child mortality in these countries. This study aims to provide original and useful data from Colombo, Sri Lanka which will help in the development of new or existing road safety interventions and education, particularly in relation to child knowledge and perception.
The method of research involves recruiting school children aged 8-9 years from the Holy Family Convent and St. Peter’s College schools situated on Galle road, Colombo. These schools have been selected as they have similar location, one being a girls school, the other a boys school.
The first part of the study involves a draw and write technique where the children will be asked to draw a picture of themselves crossing Galle road, the main road by their school. They will then be given a piece of paper with the instruction ‘tell me what you have drawn and why’. Six children from each class will be then purposively selected to take part in a focus group. Content analysis will be used when analysing this section of the results. Finally I will carry out a two day observation of child pedestrian behaviour on Galle road. Behaviour of the children will be compared using the UK’s Green Cross Code.
It is estimated that the research will take approximately four weeks to complete. This includes, recruiting and gaining consent from the participants, carrying out the draw and write activity, completing two focus groups and carrying out the observational study. The estimated cost of this research £1163. Background
Road Traffic Accidents (RTAs) are one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide with 86% of deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries despite accounting for only 40% of motor vehicles[i]. RTAs are the overriding cause of child injuries killing approximately 180 000 children under 15 each year. Children are rarely the cause of road traffic accidents but suffer as pedestrians, cyclists and passengers[ii]. Lack of research in low-income countries has meant a slow introduction of effective intervention strategies to reduce the mortality rates.
Many factors are accountable for the high RTA rates in low-income countries including impaired driving, lack of enforcement and vehicle type. However the most significant differences found in low-income countries are the wide variation in road vehicles and the high number of vulnerable road users. The mixture of road users including pedestrians, bicycles, handcarts, mopeds, rickshaws, motorcycles, vans, cars, trucks and buses means that schemes to combat this problem have not been required in the same extent in high-income countries and therefore local research is needed[iii].
Child pedestrians account for a large proportion of vulnerable road users. The high number of pedestrian and cyclist casualties in these countries reflects not only their inherent vulnerability but also insufficient attention to their needs in policy-making3. A study in Pakistan observed 250 pedestrians in the top 10 risk areas for pedestrian RTAs in Karachi. They observed walking and crossing the road and walking on the pavement. Only 60% of the pedestrians looked left and right before crossing. 52% crossed the street less than 2 seconds before a vehicle passed the point they had just crossed. 35% caused the traffic to swerve to avoid the observed pedestrian. Of the 250 pedestrians observed walking on the street edge, 82% had a pavement available to them but were not using it[iv].
Of the pedestrians using pavements 28% encountered an encroachment and 84% of these...