School street designs are car-free roads near schools that are closed to traffic at drop-off and pick-up times, enabling students and parents to walk and cycle to school safely. They have been shown to reduce road traffic collisions and air pollution around schools, encourage active travel, promote healthy lifestyles, and foster community. In fact, they are a key component of child friendly urban planning policies in many cities, including those in the UK.
Although the school street concept is relatively simple, implementing one takes time, commitment and resources to get up and running. As a result, some schools may not be ready to take the leap or are reluctant to put in the effort required. This toolkit is designed to streamline the process and help communities get started.
The Evolution of School Street Designs: Enhancing Safety and Community
To develop a successful school street, schools need to have committed leaders in the community and on staff to help lead the project through all stages, from application to final design. Direct and ongoing communications with residents, parents and teachers is also essential to ensure that the school street can reflect the broader input of its diverse urban community.
Some schools restrict access to cars only during the hectic arrival and departure times, while others use their School Street throughout the day for outdoor learning, neighborhood events and assemblies. However, regardless of the format, all school streets reimagine roads as safe and inclusive public spaces for children and their families.