Road safety around schools is a significant concern for schools, parents, Auckland Transport and the NZ Transport Agency, and is a key reason for the historic reduction seen in the proportion of children walking and cycling to schools in Auckland. In response to these concerns, Auckland Transport operate the Safe School Travel Plan programme, which puts in place a package of engineering improvements, road safety training and active travel initiatives, aimed at improving road safety around schools and increasing the mode share of walking and cycling among children.
Between 2010 and 2015, Flow undertook research on behalf of both the NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport into the effectiveness of Safe School Travel Plans in improving road safety around schools. The research involved testing a hypothesis that the incidence of crashes involving school aged children has reduced near schools where Safe School Travel Plans have been implemented. The research also considered the effectiveness of Safe School Travel Plans when implemented alone, and when implemented with Active School Signage (such as variable speed limits outside schools). The research also investigated the effectiveness of individual measures implemented as part of wider Safe School Travel Plans.
The research was carried out by reviewing crash data from the NZ Transport Agency’s crash records for five-year periods pre- and post-implementation of Safe School Travel Plans. This crash data was compared with crash data from schools without Safe School Travel Plans. Resulting data was normalised for measures of crash exposure, tested for statistical significance, and tested for the effects of regression to the mean.
The research confirmed that crash rates had reduced significantly outside schools that had implemented Safe School Travel Plans, in conjunction with Active School Signage. Control schools that had implemented neither Safe School Travel Plans nor Active School Signage, did not show any significant reduction in crash rates.
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