Report investigates effectiveness of School Street schemes

A new report has found that School Streets lead to significant reductions in motor vehicle traffic both during the closure time and over the whole day, with minimal change in pedestrian numbers and use of the space.

During the pandemic, many School Streets were brought in as temporary and emergency measures across London, to aid with social distancing, improving air quality and encouraging active travel to school.

The research from non-profit Cross River Partnership (CRP) and the University of Westminster’s Active Travel Academy focused on two School Street schemes in the London Borough of Hackney, evaluating their impact and effectiveness.

The report found improvements in several Healthy Streets indicators on the roads with School Streets.

group of people wearing white and orange backpacks walking on gray concrete pavement during daytime

Asa Thomas, PhD Researcher at University of Westminster, who wrote the report, said: ‘Working through this rich dataset of traffic and active travel movement at two schools has shown the impact that temporary restrictions can have on changing how people use their streets. These findings will hopefully be useful for practitioners seeking to understand what effects School Streets might have on the environments that children travel through as they arrive at school.’

The report sets out four recommendations to enhance the positive effects of School Streets, focusing on:

  • Taking a whole school and whole route approach
  • Reducing traffic effectively through enforcement and exemptions
  • Completing a scheme by changing the public realm
  • Designing for and responding to scheme issues through in-depth monitoring and evaluation

Susannah Wilks, CRP’s Director, commented: ‘CRP is really pleased to launch this important report on ‘Making School Streets Healthier’ with the University of Westminster’s Active Travel Academy. The pandemic pushed rapid implementation of extra School Streets. This report shows why it is vital to keep that momentum going and make School Streets permanent features across all London neighbourhoods.’

The full report can be viewed here.

Photo by note thanun


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