Ask someone what they think the main impact on pedestrian safety is and most will say speeding. However, in heavily congested areas, pedestrian safety is slightly more nuanced.
When we are talking about heavily congested areas we are talking about congestion in terms of both pedestrians and vehicles. Picture a local school at drop off or pick up times and you will probably picture an element of chaos, with parents and children crossing roads, impatient drivers stuck in traffic, and cars strewn along the roadside.
There are actually two behaviours that, when tackled in unison can greatly improve pedestrian safety in heavily congested areas: Speeding, and Illegal Parking.
It goes without saying that speed kills. Speed impairs a driver’s ability to control their vehicle, increases the distance travelled while the driver reacts to the potential collision, and increases the possibility of a fatality in the event of a pedestrian impact.
Research shows that if a pedestrian is hit at 50km/h, the probability of death increases by over 55% compared with the same accident at 40km/h.
Illegal parking is perhaps less of an obvious factor to pedestrian safety. Nonetheless, research from Europe revealed that 30% to 50% of child pedestrian crashes involved visual obstacles. These visual obstacles are usually parked cars where children are emerging unsighted to cross the road (Child pedestrian's exposure, accidents and behaviour – Van der Molen).
‘No stopping’ zones are well thought out and positioned in such a way as to maximise visibility for both pedestrians and drivers. Increased fines and demerits in active school zones were introduced to act as a deterrent to ignoring these parking rules, however not everyone realises the implications of being fined within an active school zone. Parents are often busy, stressed, and rushing when picking up and dropping off children. What’s more, not everyone is aware of the potentially fatal impact of ‘just stopping for a minute’ and ignoring parking rules in school zones and beyond.
In an effort to help change this behaviour, SPOT is proud to have teamed up with the City of Parramatta council to deliver an innovative educational dashboard designed to support onboarding of new parents.
The School Parking Finder dashboard leverages our data collection technology and allows time dynamic visualisation of parking restrictions.
With a simple three colour legend, new parents can easily familiarise themselves with the restrictions around their children’s schools, and plan their journey appropriately.
Significantly, the dashboard also serves as a behavioural prompt – reminding parents of the increased fines and demerits as well as speed limits in school zones.
Now that we have developed this resource, SPOT would like to deploy this project in other schools over NSW and Australia and wants to hear from you if you know of a school which suffers from speeding and illegal parking.
Check out the School Parking Finder here.