School street designs are a low-cost, high-impact strategy that creates safer and healthier journeys to school. They limit access to the road around a school at critical times (drop-off and pick-up) to encourage more people to walk, scoot or cycle, reducing air pollution and improving health.
In just five years, school street schemes have grown by five-fold to over 1100 across a dozen countries, with the majority located in Europe. The first global analysis of these schemes, which temporarily close roads around schools to through traffic at drop-off and pick-up times, found that they are a cost-effective way to improve the environment for families.
A Comparative Analysis: School Street Designs from Around the World
London has a dedicated budget for school streets and aims to have a scheme outside every primary and secondary school. Paris has permanent swinging gates that can be locked at drop-off and pick-up times, while Tirana is implementing a similar plan for permanent shared spaces in front of its schools. In all of these cities, tailpipe emissions are down and walking and cycling to school is on the rise.
Research has also shown that when road space is restricted to buses and pedestrians, surrounding roads are able to function more smoothly as traffic diverts to them. The resulting reduction in congestion on main roads can allow for safer driving conditions and more people to consider walking or cycling for local trips, particularly if these routes are identified as Park & Stride locations. In addition, local businesses nearby have reported increased trade and more footfall since their School Streets opened.