December 31


Slowing Down Traffic in School Zones

By Mike Spack

December 31, 2007

Safety plans, school safety, school traffic, School Zones, student safety

By Mike Spack, PE, PTOE

The speed of a vehicle in a crash greatly determines the severity of injuries. Slowing down vehicles within the school grounds and on the streets adjacent to the school is a significant way to improve safety.

Coordinating the school’s efforts to slow traffic on the adjacent streets with the city’s police and engineering departments is important to the success of the plan. Traffic signs have little impact on speed unless the police routinely enforce them.

Police departments are usually willing to increase their speed enforcement within school zones if you remind them of the importance of low speeds.  It is highly recommended to increase enforcement near schools at the beginning of the school year.

Speed bumps and blocking off through routes within the parking lot may be needed to slow down traffic within the campus.

Physical devices like roundabouts are the best way to slow down vehicles on the adjacent streets. Engineering department cooperation will be needed if this type of change is warranted.

Physical devices in the parking lot and on the adjacent streets need to be well thought out because they can pose significant problems for handicapped persons.  They may also cause unnecessary delays if used inappropriately.  Physical devices need to be designed so they are compliant with all ADA laws.

Links to Each of the 7 Components of an Effective School Safety Plan

  1. Documenting Existing Transportation Systems at Schools
  2. Minimizing Vehicle and Student Interaction – A Look at Loading Zones
  3. Minimizing the Impacts of School Traffic
  4. Increasing Student Visibility in School Zones
  5. Slowing Down Traffic in School Zones
  6. Controlling Arrivals and Departures at Schools
  7. Traffic Safety Education for Students

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    Mike Spack

    My mission is to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.

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