The municipality of Utrecht wants to improve traffic safety in school areas, having drawn up an approach that emphasizes the importance of matching the wishes of the schools in the city. Mobycon conducted a survey among 35 schools in Utrecht in preparation for the implementation of the developed approach, examining global experience in areas like appointing a mobility manager, encouraging increased walking and cycling and closing school access roads to cars during pick-up and drop-off times.
“Utrecht has a total of 114 schools,” says Lisette Wiekenkamp, Mobility Policy Advisor at the Municipality of Utrecht. “There are schools with and without a road safety label, and even schools with such a label still experience road safety problems. Of the 35 participating schools, each type has been included.” Mobycon deployed a mix of research methods, including telephone surveys and desk research. The digital scans of the traffic environment of the schools also provided valuable information.
As Wiekenkamp explains, “We investigated how the measures from the developed school safety approach can be implemented and which measures are effective for the Municipality of Utrecht.” Three questions were central: How is the mobility manager best deployable? How do you encourage walking and cycling to school? How can traffic safety be improved by closing off the street during pick-up and drop-off times? The analysis showed that the answers to the three questions are strongly interrelated and that different schools have different needs. For example, one needs practical lessons to learn how to cycle while another wants to learn how to cycle safely on the route from school to home.
“Mobycon’s advisors have an energetic attitude and approach,” says Wiekenkamp. “They have used various research methods to thoroughly investigate what is the best approach for the municipality of Utrecht to improve traffic safety at schools.”
‘Planning, promotion and education for cycling are great tools that contribute to making places thrive, people participate and be healthy, as well as to the quality of the living environment.’