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Japan city police distributes GIS maps among school children

Japanese-childrenJapan: The Chiba prefectural police in Japan are distributing commuting route maps among school children, to protect primary school students from traffic accidents. The commuting route maps indicate spots where students have been injured or killed in traffic accidents.

The initiative is rare, but the maps have been used to raise awareness and have been effective in protecting children from traffic accidents on the way to and from school. The prefectural police have compiled a database of traffic accidents resulting in injury or death since 2001, and have accumulated data on accident locations and weather, as well as who was involved in the accidents.

With the Geographic Information System (GIS, see below) users can check different kinds of data on their computer by pointing their cursor to spots where accidents have happened. The prefectural police have collated information on traffic accidents on school routes since 2003. The map integrating the data and school routes has been distributed to more than 800 schools in Chiba Prefecture.

The maps approved by schools are also open to the public on the Chiba prefectural police website. The maps highlight spots where accidents are most frequent, making it easy to determine where it is necessary to install additional traffic lights and crosswalks.

At schools, students use the maps to go out and check dangerous spots along school routes. The maps are also utilized to pinpoint where volunteers need to be stationed along school routes to help with children’s safety.

The number of traffic accidents involving students on the way to and from school has experienced ups and downs over the years. There were 178 cases in 2008, but it has had a downward trend recently, with 159 cases in 2013, 120 in 2014, and 136 in 2015. Two schoolchildren were killed in traffic accidents in 2012, while one was killed in 2013. There have been no fatal accidents since 2014.

Source: Japan News