Background:

In 2005, the US Congress allocated $612 million for a national Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program to encourage walking and bicycling to schools. We analyzed motor vehicle crash data to assess the effectiveness of SRTS interventions in reducing school-aged pedestrian injury in New York City.

Methods:

Using geocoded motor vehicle crash data for 168 806 pedestrian injuries in New York City between 2001 and 2010, annual pedestrian injury rates per 10 000 population were calculated for different age groups and for census tracts with and without SRTS interventions during school-travel hours (defined as 7 am to 9 am and 2 pm to 4 pm, Monday through Friday during September through June).

Results:

During the study period, the annual rate of pedestrian injury decreased 33% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 30 to 36) among school-aged children (5- to 19-year-olds) and 14% (95% CI: 12 to 16) in other age groups. The annual rate of school-aged pedestrian injury during school-travel hours decreased 44% (95% CI: 17 to 65) from 8.0 injuries per 10 000 population in the preintervention period (2001–2008) to 4.4 injuries per 10 000 population in the postintervention period (2009–2010) in census tracts with SRTS interventions. The rate remained virtually unchanged in census tracts without SRTS interventions (0% [95% CI: –8 to 8]).

Conclusions:

Implementation of the SRTS program in New York City has contributed to a marked reduction in pedestrian injury in school-aged children.

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