Vision Zero Cities Op-Ed: Lessons from Britain’s ‘School Streets’

Photo: Gary Manhine
Photo: Gary Manhine

Editor’s Note: A version of this article will appear in Transportation Alternatives’s Vision Zero Cities Journal as part of the 2021 Vision Zero Cities Conference, Oct. 20-22, including walking and biking tours on Oct. 22. You can register for the virtual conference (and for New York City residents, in-person tours) at visionzerocities.org.

It’s autumn again, which means back to school and back to the all-important school run. At approximately the same time every day, nearly every child needs to travel to and from school, an enormous undertaking that spans the city. For taking up such a small slice of the day, the school run — and the modes of transportation that are chosen for this journey — has a disproportionate impact on the sustainable travel and road safety outcomes for a city.

Doolin O'Reilly
Doolin O’Reilly
The author in front of a community outreach sign at a Hackney school. Photo: Gary Manhine
The author in front of a community outreach sign at a Hackney school. Photo: Gary Manhine

The Hackney School Streets pilot ran from 2017 to 2019. It consisted of trialing the School Streets restrictions at five schools, each with a distinct road layout, over an 18 month experimental period. The initiatives were extensively monitored during the pilot in order to evaluate their impact and determine whether or not we should make the restrictions permanent fixtures.

Hackney’s School Street signage: The camera icon indicates the possible presence of automated-traffic enforcement. Photo: Gary Manhine
Hackney’s School Street signage: The camera icon indicates the possible presence of automated-traffic enforcement. Photo: Gary Manhine

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