Cities are redesigning their streets to make them safer and healthier for children, particularly streets that surround schools. There are various strategies, such as temporary street closures to allow for safer school entry and exit, while other interventions are more ambitious and consist of permanent street re-designs that reallocate space to pedestrians, bicycles or play areas. In Barcelona, the program to protect schools is called Protegim les Escoles, which began in 2020 with 26 schools. The program entails a combination of strategies such as lane closures, new play elements, vegetation, public seating, signage, street paint, parking removal and sidewalk extensions. The interventions at each school were based on the particular conditions at each site.
In collaboration with the program managers and research colleagues at ISGlobal, we are evaluating a subset of schools in the Protegim program that implemented traffic-calming measures aimed at reducing vehicular traffic in front of the school. We want to learn how the traffic-calming measure is changing the use of public space and air quality.