Traffic safety and safe routes to schools: Synthesising the empirical evidence

  • Published: Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2007
  • Authors: E. Dumbaugh and L. Frank
  • Date Added: 28 Jan 2013
  • Last Update: 28 Jan 2013
  • Format: pdf


To summarise what is known about the substantive safety effects of safety measures which comprise the Safe Routes To School (SRTS) programme. To identify areas where knowledge gaps exist.


Review of substantive research concerning countermeasures associated with the SRTS programme, specifically: sidewalks, bicycle lanes, speed-reducing / traffic calming measures, crosswalks, medians / refuges, active police enforcement, school zone flashers, crossing guards, child education programme, and motorists education programme.

Key Findings:

  • Despite potential benefits of the SRTS countermeasures, most of these are presumed rather than known.

  • Of those applications with substantive studies, unsignalised crosswalks and motorist education programmes were actually found to have no effect on the incidence of RTIs.

  • None of the countermeasures have been assessed specifically to consider child pedestrians.

  • These countermeasures are combined in a programme of applications so the cumulative effect may be greater than the sum of the parts.

Themes: safe routes, schools, RTIs, programmes, children


This study shows that, in spite of strong anecdotal evidence in support of SRTS as a safety-enhancing programme, very little has been fully researched and understood. There exist gaps around specific countermeasures, and very limited understanding of the effect of combining countermeasures into programmes.