Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Are school zones effective? An examination of motor vehicle versus child pedestrian crashes near schools
  1. J Warsh1,
  2. L Rothman2,
  3. M Slater3,
  4. C Steverango2,
  5. A Howard2
  1. 1
    Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada
  2. 2
    The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada
  3. 3
    Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Canada
  1. Dr L Rothman, Child Health Evaluative Sciences, The Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5G 1X8, Canada; linda.rothman{at}


Objective: To analyse the relationships between factors related to school location and motor vehicle versus child pedestrian collisions.

Methods: Data on all police-reported motor vehicle collisions involving pedestrians less than 18 years of age that occurred in Toronto, Canada, between 2000 and 2005 were analysed. Geographic information systems (GIS) software was used to assess the distance of each collision relative to school location. The relationships between distance from school and collision-related factors such as temporal patterns of school travel times and crossing locations were analysed.

Results: Study data showed a total of 2717 motor vehicle versus child (<18) pedestrian collisions. The area density of collisions (collisions/area), particularly fatal collisions, was highest in school zones and decreased as distance from schools increased. The highest proportion of collisions (37.3%) occurred among 10–14-year-olds. Within school zones, collisions were more likely to occur among 5–9-year-old children as they travelled to and from school during months when school was in session. Most collisions within school zones occurred at midblock locations versus intersections.

Conclusions: Focusing interventions around schools with attention to age, travel times, and crossing location will reduce the burden of injury in children. Future studies that take into account traffic and pedestrian volume surrounding schools would be useful for prevention efforts as well as for promotion of walking. These results will help identify priorities and emphasise the importance of considering spatial and temporal patterns in child pedestrian research.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests: None.

  • Funding: This research was funded by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Team Grant and by AUTO21.