Forty years ago, half of all students walked or bicycled to school. Today, fewer than 15 percent travel on their own steam. One-quarter take buses, and about 60 percent are transported in private automobiles…
It has had several unfortunate consequences. Children’s lives have become far more sedentary. They are fatter than ever and at greater risk of developing hypertension, diabetes and heart disease at young ages….
The American Academy of Pediatrics in July issued a policy statement on school transportation safety …. The academy’s statistics on injuries and fatalities suggest that being driven to school in a passenger vehicle is by far the most dangerous way to get there …
Cities and communities throughout the country are trying to encourage more children to walk or bike to school. The only way this can occur is if children can travel there safely. That means more sidewalks and clearly marked bike lanes or paths separated from roadways, lower traffic speed on school routes, safer crosswalks, well-trained crossing guards at all corners near schools and adult supervision.Also helpful are traffic-calming measures ….
And here are the numbers that amazed me:
Seattle has reported a 77 percent to 91 percent reduction in traffic accidents after installing a citywide traffic-calming program that included 700 new residential traffic circles.
Vancouver was the first city in North America, as far as I can tell, to introduce traffic calming – in 1973, when diverters were permanently installed west of Denman. But I have never seen such high numbers for a reduction in traffic accidents associated with the traffic calming – at least for neighbourhoods in this city.