In a country where there’s been an average annual increase of more than 16 million vehicles and 20 million drivers in recent years, more than 80 percent of road accidents are caused by violations of traffic rules. Cars share the crowded road with bicycles, motorcycles and pedestrians, and road safety is an issue, especially among young children.
In collaboration with Sesame Workshop and the China Youth Development Foundation, I recently had the pleasure of launching Sesame Street Mobile Road Safety First!, one of our Wireless Reach projects taking place in China to address the government’s concern for road safety among parents and children.
The Sesame Street Mobile Road Safety First! program supports the Chinese government’s focus on reducing traffic-related accidents. It aligns with the government’s National Plan of Action for Children (2011-2020), which highlights the need for enhancing road safety education in schools and the need for increasing road safety awareness and behaviors among parents and children. It also aligns with the State Council’s guidance to boost information technology consumption as an important factor in improving the country’s economic growth.
At the launch event, we announced the results of this new mobile road safety program that uses educational eBooks optimized for mobile access to help families with preschool-age children in China learn how to travel safely by car, bicycle, bus, train and foot.
Topline results from the pilot indicate that participating children made measurable gains in road safety knowledge—an increase of 36% in scores from pre-test to post-test. The mobile tools are now available, free of charge, for families across China. The goal of project collaborators is that these materials will empower children and their families to practice safe transportation habits.
During the event, Maura Regan, senior vice president and general manager of Global Consumer Products for Sesame Street confirmed how successful the project has been thus far, by sharing testimonials of families who have said that their children are now educating and reminding their parents and grandparents on the importance of looking both ways before crossing the street and other road safety tips learned through the curriculum.
Sesame Street and Wireless Reach have had a long relationship and given our expertise in mobile technology and theirs as a trusted resource for children and families all around the world, this project has a unique synergy that can easily be translated into any language.
It was an honor to speak at this launch event in Beijing and demonstrate how we are using mobile broadband to provide access to much needed education and public safety information to children in China.
Dancing onstage with the Sesame Street Muppets was an added bonus.