Traffic safety and safe routes to schools: Synthesising the empirical evidence

  • Published: Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2007
  • Authors: E. Dumbaugh and L. Frank
  • Date Added: 28 Jan 2013
  • Last Update: 28 Jan 2013
  • Format: pdf

Objectives:

To summarise what is known about the substantive safety effects of safety measures which comprise the Safe Routes To School (SRTS) programme. To identify areas where knowledge gaps exist.

Methodology:

Review of substantive research concerning countermeasures associated with the SRTS programme, specifically: sidewalks, bicycle lanes, speed-reducing / traffic calming measures, crosswalks, medians / refuges, active police enforcement, school zone flashers, crossing guards, child education programme, and motorists education programme.

Key Findings:

  • Despite potential benefits of the SRTS countermeasures, most of these are presumed rather than known.

  • Of those applications with substantive studies, unsignalised crosswalks and motorist education programmes were actually found to have no effect on the incidence of RTIs.

  • None of the countermeasures have been assessed specifically to consider child pedestrians.

  • These countermeasures are combined in a programme of applications so the cumulative effect may be greater than the sum of the parts.

Themes: safe routes, schools, RTIs, programmes, children

Comments:

This study shows that, in spite of strong anecdotal evidence in support of SRTS as a safety-enhancing programme, very little has been fully researched and understood. There exist gaps around specific countermeasures, and very limited understanding of the effect of combining countermeasures into programmes.

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