Background Road traffic injuries have reached epidemic proportion in Sri Lanka with rapid urbanisation and motorization. Due to inadequate consideration, adolescents are forced to share their transportation and recreational space with vehicles. The objective of this study is to assess the built-environment around schools in Sri Lanka.
Methods An observatory study was conducted around 16 high schools in Galle, Sri Lanka. Researchers observed the road conditions and road facilities, and measured the density of vehicles and pedestrians during the school rush hour. A cross-sectional survey was conducted among adolescents from these 16 schools, through which students self-reported their experience of road traffic crashes in the past 6 months. Descriptive analysis and regression model were performed by using STATA. The study was approved by IRB at Duke University and Ruhuna University.
Results The built-environment observation showed that although over 80% of roads around 16 schools were fully paved, 62.5% roads were narrow due to high pedestrian density and parked vehicles. 18.8% of roads were one-way road and 37.5% of roads didn’t have clear directions and lanes. Only 18.8% roads had formal road shoulders to separate pedestrians from vehicles. 56.3% of schools had a policeman in front of the school gate to control the traffic, but none of the roads had a traffic light to control the vehicles and pedestrians. The regression model showed that after control the school and gender, one-way road (OR: 0.80, 95% CI: 0.68, 0.95) and having curve (OR: 0.79, 95% CI: 0.71, 0.89) are protective factors that significantly associated with adolescents’ involvement of the crashes.
Conclusions The current built environment around schools in Galle, Sri Lanka is poor. A comprehensive strategy including improving the built environment with the consideration of vulnerable road users is promising to protect adolescents from road traffic injuries.
- road traffic crashes
- built environment
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