Title

ANALYSIS OF NORTH CAROLINA GUIDELINES AND CRITERIA FOR ESTABLISHING SCHOOL WALK ZONES

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2003

Subject Area

operations - traffic, planning - safety/accidents, planning - safety/accidents, planning - surveys, planning - education, mode - pedestrian, mode - pedestrian

Keywords

Zoning, Walking, Walk zones, Traffic safety education, Surveys, Study and teaching, Students, Spatial analysis, Schools, School transportation, Research, Recommendations, Pedestrian accidents, Partnerships, Parents, North Carolina, No-transport zones, Local government officials, Guidelines, Focus groups, Education and training, Data collection, Data acquisition, Cycling, Bicycling

Abstract

The North Carolina Department of Transportation's Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation sponsored research to examine the potential for developing school walk zone guidelines for the state. State law establishes a zone within a 1.5-mi radius of a school in which school bus transportation is not provided, "unless road or other conditions shall make it inadvisable to do so." Quantifiable guidelines are needed to clearly define the exception conditions to this law and to guide school officials in establishing and evaluating walking and biking corridors within this zone. To examine the opportunities, issues, and risks associated with school walk zones, the project team conducted a survey of North Carolina school transportation directors, focus groups with parents, students, and school and local government officials, and a spatial analysis of school-related pedestrian crashes. Results and conclusions led to several recommendations. They include clarifying and defining key terms, such as "walk zone" and "no-transport zone"; developing quantifiable guidelines to help school officials identify preferred walking corridors; and establishing local partnerships with representatives from public works, schools, departments of transportation, police, and community organizations. Also, pedestrian and bicycle safety and access issues should be included in the local school siting process, and pedestrian and bicycle training should be increased in elementary and middle schools. Other recommendations are to change the crash data collection process to better identify school commute crashes and to conduct further research on school walk zones and no-transport zones, to better understand their impact on modal split, school campus traffic congestion, school commute safety, and public costs.