A new research project has been launched to evaluate the impact of School Streets schemes on the safety of surrounding roads.
The project is being carried out by the active travel charity Sustrans in partnership with Birmingham City Council – who introduced their first School Streets in September 2019.
It is backed by more than £95k of funding from the Road Safety Trust – under the theme ‘innovative traffic calming and provision for vulnerable road users’.
School Streets typically involve closing roads around schools to motorised traffic at peak times. They aim to reduce traffic congestion at the school gates, as well as making it safer for children to walk or cycle to school.
As part of the project, researchers will survey pupils, parents and local residents to explore the effect of the car-free streets on people’s travel behaviour, perceptions, and experiences.
They will also use video technology to capture footage of school streets in order to evaluate safety, conflict and traffic flows on surrounding streets.
Sustrans hopes the research will help inform local authorities and schools on how to respond more effectively to concerns about road traffic in areas surrounding schools.
Clare Maltby, director of England, Midlands and East, Sustrans said: “We’re delighted to have been granted this funding by the Road Safety Trust, and very much look forward to working with Birmingham City Council on the next phase of this project.
“Whilst we look ahead to life after lockdown and schools returning, it is important that we do not return to high levels of car use to ensure physical distancing, but look for more active ways of travelling, such as walking and cycling.
“We’re hopeful that this initiative will highlight the benefits of a cleaner and more active school run, and inspire future transport planning”.
Cllr Waseem Zaffar MBE, cabinet member for transport and environment at Birmingham City Council, said: “In Birmingham school streets are places where we put children and families first, encourage walking, scooting and cycling, and keep people safe and healthy.
“Our Car Free School Streets pilot with 6 schools has proven very popular with local communities, and we look forward to working with Sustrans to further demonstrate the impact this approach has on improving people’s health and the environment.”