Developing safe route planning strategies in young child pedestrians

  • Published: University of Strathclyde, 1997
  • Authors: J Thomson
  • Date Added: 28 Jan 2013
  • Last Update: 28 Jan 2013
  • Format: pdf


To assess two action-based methods for improving road safety judgements relating to safe crossing points.


Two programmes of equivalent training were devised – one delivered individually in the classroom and one individually at the roadside. Before and after tests were carried out and a control group used.

Key Findings:

  • In devising the schemes, younger (aged 5 to 7) children’s judgement was seen to be overly affected by the presence, however distant, of cars – typically they don’t cross if they see cars.

  • However, they also typically failed to recognise the hazards of poor sight lines associated with obstructions, brow of a hill etc. This results in limited ability to construct safe routes for 5 to 7 year olds.

  • Following training, the performance of 5 year olds post-test improved almost to the level of 11 year olds. Gains made in both the classroom and practical training gave broadly similar improvements.

  • Performance reduced over time in the test two months after training, and again in the test 8 months after training. However, capability at 8 months post test was still significantly higher than pre-training. Again, trends were very similar for classroom and practical training groups.

  • Administering the same training in groups of five showed improvements over the control group, though by a factor of roughly half that achieved from individual training. However, group trained children showed no deterioration when tested two months later.

  • Having parents administer training to groups of three children with a blend of classroom based and practical sessions yielded similar post-test improvements to the other delivery methods.

Themes: safe routes, programme administration, children


This article provides only a brief summary, but shows the successes possible when the youngest children (i.e. those least adept at safe route planning) are given some road safety training. There is also useful discussion of training administration.