The Traffic project: ‘An open sign for life’, aims to contribute to increase people’s awareness of the problems and the high number of accidents and violations in the city, encouraging people to be more conscious while driving.
The city of Francisco Beltrão is located in the state of Paraná. According to estimates from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, in July 2014 the city had a population of 85,486 inhabitants, the largest city in the Southwest of Parana state. Its economy is important for the region because it’s the center of several types of banks, educational and medical services as well as a large number of commercial establishments. Within the state, its industry stands out for its agribusiness, textiles and furniture production.
It has maintained positive rates of population growth over the past two decades. This population growth, along with the economic development of the cities, give people more and more access to various means of transportation, thus increasing the fleet of vehicles in the city and consequently the problems related to traffic jams; reckless of driving; stressed caused by pedestrians and cyclists; disrespect and accidents; followed by many deaths. Currently the city of Francisco Beltrao has a large circulation of cars in the main streets of the city. According to Detran data, in 2013 the city had a fleet of 38,696 vehicles. This large number of cars is making traffic and movement of pedestrians and cyclists difficult in the city.
Educating people about traffic allows us to intervene, to develop actions that generate better quality of life, and enhance security through cooperative attitudes on traffic; in this way we can enjoy the right to come and go, a basic principle of mobility. It is the responsibility of society to make traffic pleasant, peaceful and respectful for their users.
Therefore, the students from SESI High School, who study in the workshop “Traffic: an open sign for life.” seek to contribute to the people’s formation of greater awareness of the problems and the high number of accidents in the ciof Francisco Beltrão, while encouraging them to be more conscious while driving.
The students decided to perform an investigative expedition at strategic points of the city; there were several cases involving traffic actions such as parking in inappropriate places; disrespect for pedestrian streets; sidewalks in bad conditions of use; disrespect for the traffic signs; imprudence; lack of accessibility; among others. After observing and recording occurrences in the city traffic, they decided to make a photo exhibition at public schools and make an educational sticker for drivers; they also collected testimonials with suggestions for improvements to the current situation.
First, the students watched the film ‘Seven Pounds’, which made them think about imprudent actions that can lead to a car accident and also about organ donations, which caused much controversy and different opinions. The participants of the project read a booklet about defensive driving: Traffic Security in Traffic is a Right for All. DENATRAN - Federal Government brought some information about traffic, its occurrences, security and mobility; and an instructive lecture was given by a military police representative of the city who gave some guidance to students about accidents, imprudence and legislation.
So, the students began to make the educational sticker to make people aware of traffic problems, which would later be given in an educational checkpoint with the support of the military police from Denetran.
After that, each team chose strategic points of the city where, over a period of time, they recorded several traffic occurrences and took part in an educational checkpoint, giving out the educational stickers. The result of this activity was a photo exhibition, videos and testimonials. Parents and school friends attended the exhibition at the school. From then on, we set out to discuss photography as a stimulus strategy to awareness of road safety and mobility, as well as all actions performed by the students.
In addition, students did an activity with children from the kindergarten school where they worked on the topics of citizenship and respect, gave explanations on the use of seat belts and crosswalks and traffic lights through puzzles, memory games, drawings, videos; they also simulated a road where the children rode their ‘motorcycles’ acting out being drivers and pedestrians.
At the end of the activities, the students of project “Traffic: an open sign for life” reported that to be an effective improvement in traffic, it is necessary that people become aware of everyone’s right to come and go and must therefore be respectful and have patience; stricter laws should be created and put into practice; there should be greater control. The money collected from taxes should be invested in improving infrastructure; building speed bumps could help prevent many vehicle and pedestrian accidents.
Finally, we believe that the actions taken were valuable for us teenagers. We became knowledgeable of various occurrences involving traffic so that we can be better drivers, cyclists and pedestrian citizens in the future – with rights and obligations – doing our part in society so that in future the traffic will become more secure and enjoyable, guaranteeing the right to come and go for all.