Fewer kids were injured during early morning and after school hours once new traffic lights, pedestrian signals and speed bumps were put around New York City schools, according to a new study.
Those fixtures were added through the Safe Routes to School program, the federal program that works to improve kids’ ability to walk and bike to schools across the country. As a result of Safe Routes to School, the city’s Department of Transportation undertook safety improvements at the 124 New York City schools (out of a total of 1,471) with the highest injury rates in the city.
For the new study, which was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, researchers tracked injury rates around 30 schools that had finished safety projects. Between 2001 and 2010, they saw a 44-percent drop in the number of school-aged pedestrians who were injured in the hours just before or just after the school day – from 8 injuries per 10,000 kids each year to 4.4 per 10,000.
In comparison, there was no drop in injury rates in areas without pedestrian safety projects – they held steady over the decade at 3.1 annual injuries per 10,000 students.
The researchers noted in the journal Pediatrics that if the program was expanded, it could prevent 210 pedestrian injuries per year among New York City students.
The same infrastructure changes everywhere can also positively affect kids’ general health because physically active kids are healthier. One of the easiest ways to get kids active is to build that activity into a child’s daily life, and enabling and empowering them to take their trip to school by foot or on a bike instead of the back of the car.
Want to get your kids walking and biking to school with Greater Mercer TMA? Find out how today.