Making college zones safer for college kids and pedestrians — Colorado Division of Transportation

For the previous decade, pedestrian fatalities and accidents attributable to speed-related automobile accidents have been on the rise. Sadly, an alarming variety of these accidents have occurred in class zones. In response to the Transportation Analysis Board, 25,000 kids are injured yearly and greater than 100 killed on common whereas strolling to or from college, all because of dashing.

Pedestrian crossing street sign

Whereas there may be actually no excuse for this, it’s not stunning. In response to Protected Youngsters Worldwide, half of all college zones within the U.S. have velocity limits above 20 miles per hour, whereas 30 % lack marked crosswalks. Couple these statistics with the unusually excessive ranges of car, pedestrian and bicycle owner exercise within the rapid neighborhood of faculties throughout scholar drop-off and pick-up occasions and you’ve got a recipe for catastrophe.

Clearly, college leaders, and by extension civic leaders and communities usually, should do extra to cut back roadway fatalities and improve college zone security. However it’s not as simple as merely adopting a extra stringent automobile administration coverage. Faculty zones are distinctive and the accidents that occur close to faculties differ from conventional pedestrian accident instances in numerous methods. For starters, most accidents are prone to happen on weekdays (particularly Wednesdays) fairly than weekends. Accidents additionally occur most incessantly in the course of the day when lighting is shiny and clear, versus nighttime when visibility is decreased.

So what might be finished to extend security and save the lives of our nation’s schoolchildren? Maybe the best countermeasure is the implementation of site visitors calming ways—bodily measures which are designed to create secure streets by slowing drivers down, decreasing collision frequency and severity, and decreasing the necessity for police enforcement whereas growing entry for various modes of transport. Essentially the most generally used of those measures embrace:

  • Enhanced delineation: Also referred to as “rumble strips,” these high-friction floor therapies can enable for a 52 % discount in moist highway crashes. On curves, the high-friction floor therapies can have a 24 % discount in curve crashes.
  • Roadside enhancements: Enhancements can considerably scale back deadly crashes at curves, the place 27 % of all deadly crashes happen. Shockingly, 80 % of all deadly crashes at curves are roadway departure crashes.
  • Site visitors alerts: Backplates with reflective borders can scale back crashes by 15 %. Backplates added to a site visitors sign indication enhance the visibility of the illuminated face of the sign by introducing a managed distinction background.
  • Entry administration: Correct hall entry administration can scale back whole crashes alongside two-lane rural roads by as much as 23 % and may produce as much as a 31 % discount in damage and deadly crashes alongside city and suburban arterials.
  • Flip lanes: Auxiliary flip lanes for left or proper turns present bodily separation between turning site visitors that’s slowing or stopped and adjoining via site visitors at approaches to intersections. Left and proper flip lanes might scale back whole crashes by 48 % for left flip lanes and 26 % for proper flip lanes.
  • Roundabouts: The trendy roundabout is a kind of round intersection configuration that safely and effectively strikes site visitors via an intersection. Altering a signalized intersection to a roundabout can scale back extreme crashes by as much as 78 %.
  • Street diets: A highway eating regimen usually includes changing an current four-lane divided roadway to a three-lane roadway consisting of two via lanes and a middle, two-way left flip lane. A low-cost security answer when deliberate together with a easy pavement overlay, a highway eating regimen can scale back crashes by as a lot as 47 %.

Past these measures, velocity cameras are among the finest strategies for slowing automobiles. Whereas most individuals should not wild about velocity cameras, the fact is that they assist to encourage motorists to decelerate, significantly in high-risk areas comparable to college zones. In New York Metropolis, for instance, dashing at fastened velocity digital camera places has dropped 72 % on common. Crashes with accidents dropped 8 % throughout hours of velocity digital camera operation.

All through 2021, New York’s Division of Transportation put in a median of 60 new cameras per thirty days, with the intention of reaching a complete of two,220 cameras this 12 months. New York leaders are additionally working to vary the state regulation to allow 24/7 operation of velocity cameras in class zones, which can doubtless save extra lives. Present hours of operation permitted by state regulation point out a sample of comparatively much less dashing throughout digital camera hours of operation, and the next proportion of autos dashing when the cameras are forbidden by regulation to difficulty violations.

Additional underscoring this level, a CDC report entitled “Automated Pace-Digicam Enforcement” discovered that velocity cameras decreased whole crashes wherever from 8 % to 49 %, and deadly and serious-injury crashes from 11 % to 44 % in research that in contrast pre- and post-crash information collected close to digital camera websites.

Finally, implementing such measures will make our faculties and schoolchildren safer and assist communities nationwide to advance Imaginative and prescient Zero, a motion to finish all traffic-related fatalities and severe accidents by taking a scientific method to highway security. If there may be really a need to implement Imaginative and prescient Zero, although, college officers, communities, and municipalities have to be severe about, and dedicated to, implementing Imaginative and prescient Zero insurance policies, procedures, and design. Cash and funding have to be allotted. What stays unclear is what number of Individuals are ready to struggle to make sure that Imaginative and prescient Zero guarantees translate into motion. In any other case Imaginative and prescient Zero inside college zones all through the nation is prone to stay simply that, “a imaginative and prescient.”

To learn the total article, go to

Wes Guckert, PTP is president and CEO of The Site visitors Group, a number one Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Enterprise site visitors engineering and transportation planning agency serving shoppers nationally and internationally. He’s additionally a fellow of ITE and on the Nationwide Small Enterprise Management Council.

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