Research Papers

DANGEROUS DROP-OFF OF STUDENT PASSENGERS, PEDESTRIAN BEHAVIOURS AND THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT AROUND SCHOOLS

Version 1
Date added June 30, 2016
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Category 2016 CARSP XXVI Halifax
Tags Research and Evaluation, Session 4B
Author/Auteur Linda Rothman
Stream/Volet Research and Evaluation

Slidedeck Presentation Only (no paper submitted)

4B - Rothman

Abstract

Background/Context: It is commonly believed that the traffic environment surrounding schools at morning drop-off times is chaotic and potentially dangerous for students. Dangerous drop-off of student passengers and pedestrian behaviours near schools are not described well in the literature despite the potential for child pedestrian harm.

Aims/Objectives: To describe passenger drop-off and child pedestrian behaviours by occurrence of child pedestrian-motor vehicle collisions (PMVC) and built environment (BE) features in the City of Toronto, Canada.

Methods/Target Group: Methods Observations of dangerous passenger drop-off and pedestrian behaviours were conducted in the spring, 2015 at 100 elementary schools in Toronto. PMVCs from 2000-2013, involving children ages 4-12 years, were mapped near the schools. Case schools were defined as those with > 1 collisions and control schools as those with 0 collisions. The occurrence of distracted and dangerous driving, dangerous parking, unsafe pedestrian crossings, distracted walking and disobeying crossing controls and guards were compared by case-control status or BE features using Chi-square hypothesis testing. BE features examined were: downtown/inner suburbs, school crossing guards and designated car drop-off areas.

Results/Activities: At least one dangerous drop-off and/or pedestrian behaviour occurred at over 92% of schools, with the most common being dropping children off at the opposite side of the road from the school (79%) and children crossing at uncontrolled midblock locations (85%). A greater proportion of case schools compared to control schools, had children crossing at uncontrolled midblock locations (97% vs 78%, p = .01). A greater proportion of inner suburb schools compared to downtown schools, had vehicles double-parking (52% vs 28% downtown, p = .04) and vehicles parked blocking crossing controls (25% vs 4%, p = .03). A smaller proportion of schools with crossing guards compared to those without, had vehicles parked blocking crossing controls (10% vs 25% without, p = .05) and drivers texting (5% vs 22%, p = .02). A smaller proportion of schools with designated drop-off areas compared to without, had vehicles reversing dangerously (76% vs 55%, p = .03), vehicles parked blocking crossing controls (31% vs 10%, p = .01), children crossing at uncontrolled midblock locations (78% vs 95%, p = .02) and children crossing between parked vehicles (48% vs 76%, p =.01).

Discussion/Deliverables: Dangerous student drop-off and pedestrian behaviours were pervasive at schools. A greater proportion of schools with higher collision rates had children crossing at uncontrolled midblock locations. Occurrence of behaviours was related to the BE; particularly designated car-drop off areas.

Conclusions: Changes to the BE near schools may mitigate dangerous drop-off behaviours, increase walking, and provide a safer child pedestrian environment.

Linda Rothman