Research Papers

Walking in deprived neighborhoods: what risk for child pedestrian in Montreal and Toronto?

Version 1
Date added June 28, 2017
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Category 2017 CARSP XXVII Toronto
Tags Research and Evaluation, Session 6B
Author/Auteur Marie-Soleil Cloutier
Stream/Volet Research and Evaluation
Slidedeck Presentation Only (no paper submitted)



The rate of motorized trips for children has continued to rise over the past few decades and this trend has been linked to environmental, social, public health, and safety issues. However, pedestrian motor vehicle collisions (PMVC) are still far too common in cities, even more so in deprived neighbourhoods. This socio-economic divide in PMVC risk was the focus of much attention in the 1990s and early 2000s but little lately (Dougherty et al., 1990; Hasselberg et al., 2001; Graham et al., 2005). Moreover, many studies on the impact of social deprivation on road injury risk focus mostly on individual risk for children, not on the spatial distribution of this risk. Looking at child PMVC in Montreal and Toronto, the objective of this research is to examine the presence of inequity in the spatial distribution of risk. We therefore want to answer those two questions: 1) Does census tract level deprivation explain variation in child PMCV, even after controlling for different built environment characteristics? 2) Is deprivation contributing to equity issues in Montreal and Toronto? To what extent? A spatial database including police records of point-level data of child pedestrian collisions (age 4 to 12), built environment characteristics (population density and road types) and deprivation indices was created based on previous works (Foth et al., 2013; Rothman et al., 2014). Negative binomial models were calibrated in order to assess the influence of each variable on the PMVC rate/km of road per census tract. Preliminary results illustrate a strong social gradient in the child PMVC both in Montreal and Toronto. Moreover, this gradient follows the spatial pattern of already socially deprived areas, adding to the burden in those communities. Further work needs to be undertaken on the presence of major roads in those neighbourhoods, an important risk factors not randomly distributed in these two cities. Models have been built from population density and road types and deprivation indices. We will discuss the choice of these variables on results. Furthermore, results have implication for actions. Municipalities trying to reach for fewer cars on their roads should target specific areas where risk is greater.

Marie-Soleil Cloutier