Top 10 problems in Yerevan

Case Analysis

Road Deaths
On September 12, 2022, Azerbaijan invaded the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia. At the end of three days of hostilities, our country lost 204 servicemen. This is a huge loss for our nation. A pain that cannot be healed. During the same 2022, 321 people died and 6,153 more were injured in car accidents.

According to the World Health Organization, in 2019 Armenia ranked the 1st among the European countries in terms of the deaths in traffic accidents per capita (55th out of a full list of 165 countries). The reason for this is incorrectly designed roads!

Similar mortality rates were in such developed countries as Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Austria, the Netherlands, etc. some 25-30 years ago. Nowadays, mortality rates in these countries have significantly decreased and in some cities, they are equal to zero. A program was developed in Stockholm in 1997 called Vision Zero: "Zero death on the roads."

This program includes three main principles:

1. Human life is above all. That said, it is necessary to build cities for people, not for cars.

2. Road traffic safety is the responsibility of city architects and governments, not pedestrians and drivers.

3. It is necessary to study all cases of accidents and make constructive changes to the structures of the streets.

This means that the state must correctly design the urban environment, besides asphalt re-laying and crosswalks painting.

Due to the Vision Zero program road traffic deaths have dropped from 541 to 250 a year in Sweden. The population of Sweden is 11,000,000.

Let's take a closer look at what kind of program this is and how it could help the capital of Armenia and all its cities.

Causes of large number of traffic deaths on Armenian roads

The first reason for car accidents and road traffic deaths is the high speed of the cars.

Yerevan streets seem to push the drivers to drive their cars at a maximum speed.


The city authorities proudly present us with videos of laying even and smooth asphalt on city streets, but it is this asphalt which is the main source of accidents.

The streets where neither buses nor trucks drive are covered with paving stones instead of asphalt in the cities of developed countries. By the vibration of the car the driver feels that he is driving into a street full of pedestrians. Besides, it’s uncomfortable to drive fast on such a surface, as if it says: “Calm down, this is a pedestrian zone.”

Wide traffic lanes

Traffic lanes are too wide in Yerevan. It is necessary to narrow the traffic lanes. Narrow lanes will force the driver to slow down.

Lane markings and road signs

Lane markings are usually not applied on the roadway and a minimum of traffic signs are installed. This makes the drivers reduce the speed and concentrate on traffic because they do not understanding the boundaries of their movement and the main road.

Straight roads

Another way to reduce speed of the cars is to bend straight sections of the road, meaning, the car should drive along the street in zigzags. This is achieved by using a staggered arrangement of parking spaces or by curving sidewalks and the roadway.

Ring roads

Arrangement of ring roads. This will make the drivers reduce the speed.

Pedestrian crossings

The reason that the Yerevan residents cross the road in the wrong place is the small number of ground crossings, underground and overground pedestrian crossings.

Pedestrian crossings should be located at all intersections and next to all bus stops. The city government should study the flow of pedestrians, and especially that of the tourists, and arrange new crossings at these places instead of prohibiting them by setting up fences or police inspectors.

Let's take a look at the structure of a safe pedestrian crossing.

1. There should not be underground and overground pedestrian crossings in the city. The crossing should be at the level of the sidewalk, not the road. It’s not the pedestrian who should lower down to the level of the car, but the car should rise up to the level of the pedestrian, thereby, reducing the speed in this area.

2. The pavement of the roadway should be laid out with paving stones 10-15 meters before the pedestrian crossing, so that the drivers feel when they approach the crossing.

3. There is small number of safety islands in Yerevan streets. They are mainly marked by road signs, instead of metal or concrete fences.

4. Street sections at pedestrian crossings should be narrowed down to shorten the path of a pedestrian and reduce the speed of the cars.

5. It’s not the bright yellow markings, the STOP signs or the bright road signs that save a pedestrian but good lighting. A pedestrian must be visible on the road, and not hidden behind the signboards.

6. Incorrect traffic light phases. The pedestrian should wait for the green light for 20-30 seconds instead of 2-3 minutes.

The absence of all of the above mentioned indicates the wrong arrangement of Yerevan. The city should be designed in such a way that even if a car hits a pedestrian, no one dies. Even if a pedestrian crosses the street in a wrong place, it should be safe for him.

A safe Yerevan should start with the right projects and a change in the approach to the arrangement of streets and sidewalks.