School Streets and Other Safe Routes to School Initiatives
A school street designs the road outside a school turned into a pedestrian and cycle zone during drop off and pick up times. The area is often closed to motor traffic (though access for residents who live in the school catchment, blue badge holders and emergency vehicles is maintained). It’s a way of reducing car crashes, air pollution and traffic around schools, and encouraging children and their families to walk, cycle or scoot to school.
Typically, school streets are part of larger Safe Routes to School projects. DOT’s School Safety unit, for instance, works with communities, schools and elected officials to develop streets improvement projects near schools, including the installation of concrete, markings and signals-based safety treatments.
Innovative School Street Design Concepts for Safer Student Commutes
To help drivers be more aware of the presence of children in their vicinity, DOT uses special pavement markings, which are usually painted red to indicate that speed limits are reduced within a school zone. These markings are also supplemented by signs, including the Assembly A sign that warns motorists they are entering a school zone, and the Assembly C sign that indicates a reduced speed limit.
These signs and markings are often accompanied by a range of other, lower-cost interventions, including lowering curb heights at street ends to encourage cars to stop, or installing simple swinging gates that can be locked by school staff to prevent them from being used as parking spaces. A number of cities—including London, Paris and Tirana, Albania—are leading the global charge for school streets, and local politicians are increasingly backing them as part of wider child-first urban planning policies.