Road safety in Haringey and Enfield

March 2014

Road safety practitioners in Haringey and Enfield developed strong links with the local Islamic community to engage families in road safety issues and reduce the number of children from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups being injured and killed in road traffic accidents.

Transport for London (TfL) data showed that a disproportionate number of road traffic incidents in the Haringey area involved children from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. Haringey Council had already delivered a successful TfL-funded project with local Islamic schools and the wider Muslim community, but knew more needed to be done to reduce inequalities in road traffic casualties. This meant finding new ways to engage often hard-to-reach members of the community in road safety issues.

The approach

Haringey Council joined forces with Enfield Council to secure a Department for Transport Partnership Grant to improve road safety awareness among black, Asian and minority ethnic communities in the two boroughs. The Haringey and Enfield Communities Road Safety Project was funded from 2008-10.

Halema Uddin of Haringey Council’s Smarter Travel team explains the approach the partners took: “We decided to focus our work on the Edmonton Islamic Centre, which is located on the boundary of Haringey and Enfield. The centre has around 6,000 members from a wide range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds, including people from the local Arab, Bangladeshi, Moroccan, Pakistani, Somali and Turkish communities. Its large size gave us the opportunity to develop interventions for a wide range of ages.”

The project was led by Halema, with support from a family project co-ordinator whose role it was to develop road safety interventions for families, and a young driver project co-ordinator whose role it was to develop educational initiatives around issues such as peer pressure, speeding and mobile phone use.

Outcomes

The project team worked with EIC to develop interventions including:

  • a road safety family fun day, featuring stalls with road safety information, presentations from different speakers and a road safety arts and crafts area
  • family pedestrian training for women and children - the free 10-week pedestrian safety course covered the Green Cross Code and how to keep children safe on the roads, with links to the Quran’s teachings
  • training workshops specifically for young drivers
  • an in-car safety event, with professional car seat fittings, safety presentations and activities for children
  • a centre calendar showing daily prayer times along with images, messages and facts relating to road safety, which was given out to 2,000 members.

Transport for London data showed that during the two and a half years from the start of the project in 2008, the area achieved a 42% reduction in child casualties from road traffic accidents and a 10% reduction for casualties of all ages. The team also received very positive feedback from members of the community who attended events and activities.

The project won a London Region Compact Award for its work in preventing road traffic accidents among vulnerable communities and a London Transport award for ‘Partnership of the Year’.

What we can learn

  • Understanding and working with religious and cultural practices was integral to the success of this project. In particular, Halema’s personal knowledge of Islam enabled her to approach the mosque leaders and develop the relationship in an appropriate, culturally-sensitive way. Halema was also able to use her knowledge of languages including Hindu and Bengali to talk with local people in their preferred language.
  • The project team and mosque leaders worked together to make road safety messages relevant to Islamic values. For example, messages about driving less and walking more were linked to the Quran’s teachings about looking after your body and staying healthy.
  • Training the centre’s teaching staff in road safety meant that they could continue to pass on road safety knowledge and skills to new children and families at the centre, beyond the duration of the project.
  • The project aimed to teach whole families about road safety, rather than just concentrating on educating children and young people. This is important because children learn about road safety by example, so it’s vital that the adults around them know how to be good role models.
  • Haringey has gone on to fund smaller-scale community projects within the most deprived parts of the borough. Examples include a two-year project at an Afro-Caribbean community centre and a road safety project at the Assunah Islamic primary school. These projects have made best use of limited resources by focusing on interventions that were proven to work during the larger Edmonton project.
  • Halema has maintained links with the centre and still receives invitations to host a road safety stall at its annual family fun days.

Further information

For more information about the work discussed in this case study, please contact Halema Uddin on halema.uddin@haringey.gov.uk or 020 8489 1371.

Updated March 2014