Safe Route Planning

Safe Route Planning


  • This synthesis specifically covers the location and navigational aspects of pedestrian safety. Pedestrians of all ages, backgrounds and abilities are in scope, however the great majority of relevant material identified during this research is linked to children.

  • Safe route planning is an important element of pedestrian safety and has been identified as being of strategic importance by the UK government. The scope of safe route planning ranges from selection of safe places to cross the road (particularly pertinent to young children), through to safe wayfinding in urban environments.

  • Pedestrians have clear preferences for the shortest and fastest routes. In light of this, wayfinding initiatives which have safety objectives should ensure that the shortest or fastest route is also the safest. Consequently, the planning of safe routes is best carried out at the local level.

  • Safe route planning can be particularly beneficial for children. It is possible to predict sub-groups of children who exhibit the riskiest pedestrian route behaviour based on certain demographic factors. These are: young age (5 to 7 years old), ethnic minorities, low family income or low inhibitory control.

  • Pre-adolescent children have not yet developed route planning skills. They are better at determining when to cross, rather than identifying a safe route or recognising the dangers of obstructed visibility. Various education programmes have shown successes in improving behaviour of 5 to 8 year old children when selecting safe crossing routes.

  • For all age groups there are gaps in knowledge relating educational and behavioural improvements with actual improvements in casualty figures. For this reason, many of the benefits from initiatives are assumed rather than proven against casualty trends.

  • In the UK it is difficult to realise benefits from safe route planning since there are very few laws aimed at pedestrians. There are prohibitions from using motorways and laws regarding loitering on crossings, but nothing else to prevent pedestrians crossing the road. Since jaywalking is not prohibited, pedestrian desire lines are more likely (in the absence of education) to predominate in route planning behaviour in the UK – to the possible detriment of safety.


  • Date Added: 03 Apr 2012, 08:18 AM
  • Last Update: 27 Jan 2017, 04:58 PM