GLOBAL ROAD SAFETY WEEK SPECIAL FEATURE: MOSQUE MARSHALLING SCHEME
UN Global Road Safety Week
Case study: Mosque Marshalling Scheme
To celebrate the Second UN Global Road Safety Week (6-12 May), which is focusing on pedestrian safety, Road Safety GB will be showcasing some of the established pedestrian safety schemes developed in the UK.
First implemented by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council in 2005, the Mosque Marshalling Scheme has subsequently been taken up by councils across Britain.
In Blackburn, marshals are trained by the Casualty Reduction Team (CRT) and chaperone children across the Borough’s roads, in much the same way as school crossing patrols. The marshals are deployed at strategic points to maximise the impact on safety and children are kitted out with high visibility jackets. The CRT provides an education programme in each Madrassa to reinforce key pedestrian safety messages and promote the use of the marshals.
The scheme was born out of concern for the safety of children travelling to and from the local Mosques and Madrassas in Blackburn. The town has a large Muslim community, and coupled with the fact that it is very compact with many journeys made by foot, the danger posed to children travelling to Mosque was a serious concern. The scheme was the community’s answer to increase the safety if its children.
An investigation found that the borough had high levels of road casualties, particularly involving ‘Asian heritage’ children, and that many of the incidents were taking place between 4pm and 8pm; times that corresponded with young children’s journeys to and from the Mosques.
A local safety forum in the district of Bastwell raised concerns as many children had to negotiate busy roads and complex junctions with no supervision. In response, the CRT developed the Mosque Marshalling Scheme.
The impact the scheme has has had in terms of improving road safety is impressive. In 2005 there were on average 31 Asian heritage child pedestrian casualties in the areas where the scheme was developed, at the times children were travelling to Mosque.
By 2008, however, the corresponding three-year average (2006-2008) had come down to just six casualties, a reduction of 81%. The corresponding five year average (2007-2011) is 4.4 per year - an 86% reduction.
In a year when child casualties actually increased in Blackburn with Darwen (2011/12), there were just two Asian heritage child pedestrian casualties at marshalling hours, with no casualties recorded during the calendar year of 2012.
It should also be noted that there have been no child pedestrian casualties at the marshal points during the hours of operation.
In 2006 the Mosque Marshalling Scheme won a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award. The scheme won the ‘improved public education’ category and was hailed for addressing the road safety of a key ‘at risk’ group.
In Blackburn the formal scheme ended in 2012, but a number of individual Mosques have continued the scheme, with support and training provided by the CRT. There are currently 23 trained marshals covering 10 strategic points across the Borough that continue to operate today. Further schemes could be developed in areas of need - if funding can be secured.
For more information about the Mosque Marshalling Scheme in Blackburn with Darwen contact Janet Hanlon, scheme coordinator.