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Sector : Local Authorities

Overview

Safe School Travel Plans are a set of practical actions that aim to improve road safety and reduce car trips to schools. They are a product of partnerships between local school communities, Auckland Transport, the New Zealand Transport Agency, the Ministry of Health and New Zealand Police.

As a result of the Safe School Travel Planning process, Active School Signage consisting of either 40 km/h variable speed limit signs or active school warning signs is commonly implemented at individual schools.

Flow was engaged by Auckland Transport to investigate the relationship, if any, between Safe School Travel Plans, Active School Signage, and improved road safety in the area surrounding schools, in particular for school age pedestrians and cyclists.

Challenge

Technical challenges were encountered due to the need to remove bias from the study, and due to the statistical impacts of sampling very rare events. These challenges were overcome by normalising the raw data, and by applying statistical hypothesis tests.

Solutions/Approach

Flow’s research considered the hypotheses that Safe School Travel Plans, Active School Signage, or a combination of both of these have resulted in reductions in crashes involving school age pedestrians and cyclists.

These hypotheses were assessed by analysing crash records around 60 schools across Auckland, using data from the New Zealand Transport Agency’s Crash Analysis System.

Outcome

The study concluded that crash rates involving pedestrian and cyclist children have reduced at schools that have implemented both Safe School Travel Plans and Active School Signage. While Safe School Travel Plans and Active School Signage may together have been the cause of this reduction, this conclusion is not statistically conclusive.

Conversely, however, Safe School Travel Plans were found unlikely to have resulted in a reduction in this crash type, when implemented without Active School Signage.