SWOV Catalogus


Zone 30 als remedie voor onveiligheid in schoolomgevingen : steunpuntnota.
C 34719 [electronic version only]
Dreesen, A. & Princen, P.
Diepenbeek, Steunpunt Verkeersveiligheid, 2005, 49 p., 46 ref.; Rapportnummer SN-2005-06

Samenvatting From September 1st, 2005 on, every Belgian road with a school entrance (“school zone”) has to have a speed limit of 30 km/h. In this brief report, this new regulation is discussed, together with an overview of the safety of these school environments, and the effects of zones with limited speed in Flanders and Europe. In the first chapter, an overview is given of the traffic safety in school zones. The concept of a school zone is defined, and the laws and regulations of the traffic in these places are described. The school zone is that section of road at the school entrance, which has to be indicated with specific signs, stating the school zone and the speed limit. The speed limit can be indicated with a permanent or a variable traffic sign. In the second part of this chapter, an overview is given of the accident statistics concerning children going to schools in Flanders. The purpose of the majority of the trips of children is schooling. Most of these trips are done on foot or by bicycle. Accident statistics show that young pedestrians or cyclists are considerably more involved in accidents than other age categories. The accident risk for the age group of 6-18 is remarkably higher than other age groups, for accidents as well as for severe or fatal accidents. Most accidents with pedestrians and cyclists occur during start and end hours of school. Given the recent data, it is not possible to detect whether these accidents with children occur on the route to school or in the smaller school zone near the school entrance. A case study with data from the province of Limburg could not conclude that school zones are significantly more dangerous than other places. In the next chapter, an literature overview is presented of the effect on traffic safety of zones with a speed limit of 30 km/h. A 30 km/h zone can be installed on a large scale as a traffic calming measure for a large area, or in a small section length of a roadway to solve a local safety problem. The school zone as defined in the new Belgian regulation, is a road section of 100m-150m around the school entrance. The international literature shows that introducing a speed limit in larger areas usually has a positive effect on traffic safety, ranging from 10 to 40 % less accidents. Smaller road sections with a reduced speed limit are almost always accompanied with redesign of the road geometry and can not be compared with the school zone as defined in the new regulation. Effects of zones with limited speed in Flanders were not found in the literature. Part three of this report lists the determining elements of traffic safety in school zones. Not only the speed limit and the infrastructural design of the road is important, but also the behaviour of road users in that area. The speed at which road users move, is dependant on the road design, educational level and level of enforcement. The last part of this report consists of recommendations. First, the collection of correct and complete data is a prerequisite for determining the traffic safety in school zones and on school routes. Estimating the effect of a reduced speed limit in school zones can not be done without these data. When implementing a speed limit of 30 km/h in a smaller area at the school entrance, special care is needed for traffic management and technical design of the road infrastructure. The effect of using a permanent or a variable traffic sign should be investigated in order to determine in which circumstances these signs should be used. Recommendation is made to enlarge the zone with reduced speed limit instead of limiting the size to the small section at the school entrance. (Author/publisher)
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