Research Papers

An examination of children's safety associated with their behavior while crossing the crosswalk to reach the park entrance

Version 1
Date added June 28, 2017
Downloaded 0 times/fois
Category 2017 CARSP XXVII Toronto
Tags Research and Evaluation, Session 6B
Author/Auteur Mojgan Rafiei
Stream/Volet Research and Evaluation
Slidedeck Presentation Only (no paper submitted)



Today's parents accompany their children to school, park, and playground by car instead of walk, what reduce children's potential physical activity. However, to some extent, road insecurity while crossing streets to get to those destinations might be a good reason to avoid walking in these environments. Much attention has been paid lately to the road safety conditions around schools, but little is known about the surroundings of the parks and park entrance. Many of schoolchildren go to park after school and on weekend, especially park with playground in dense urban areas where there is no yard to play. It is somehow surprising that researchers so far neglect these child pedestrian travels around the park and playground. The objective of this study is to examine the influential factors on children's safety while crossing streets near park and to observe their walking behaviors all the way to the park entrance. The method put in place to answer our objective is based on observational data collection on site. Crosswalk characteristics, as well as children's behavior while crossing and all the way to the park entrance were recorded under observational grids for four parks in the Montreal central boroughs. Fifteen crossings were visited, each of them having a minimum of 30 observed children. A typology of children's behaviors while crossing and from the crossing to the park entrance was calculated according to several variables related to the crossing (width, presence of light, road marking, etc.), the park entrance configuration (distance to the crossing, presence of fences, etc.) and the child involved (age, sex, accompanied or not, etc.). Preliminary results show that children often accompanied while crossing but let loose between the crossing and the park entrance, especially in smaller park. Other analyses are currently under review to know more about the influence of crossing characteristics on children (and vehicles) behaviors at intersections. Providing safety near park, combined with safe route to other destinations, can be a good way to promote active transport and livable neighborhoods for all. So, ensuring a safe trip to the park is as important as the school trip, and this is why our results are relevant to urban planners and road safety authorities. Parks in dense urban settings are an important destination for play and other social interactions between children but also parents and neighbors. The crosswalk characteristics have impact on child pedestrian and their companion's decision making while crossing. In addition, the incorrect behavior of children and their companions when crossing the street put them at risk.

Mojgan Rafiei