When streets are seen as being safer for children, parents are more likely to allow them to walk and cycle to school and to other places. Freedom to independently explore local neighbourhoods and to partake in outdoor play is vital for children’s emotional, social and cognitive development.
Higher levels of children’s independent mobility also give parents more freedom and time to spend on activities other than driving.
Parents in Australia today spend twice the time transporting and supervising children than a generation ago, and children’s independent travel has been declining significantly over the last few decades.
Reducing speed limits to 30 km/h would increase the likelihood that children are given licences to walk to school alone or cycle around their neighbourhoods.
The Global Designing Cities Initiative (GDCI), a program of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), launched Designing Streets for Kids in August 2020— which set a new global baseline for designing urban streets. It builds upon the approach of putting people first, with a focus on the specific needs of babies, children, and their caregivers as pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users in urban streets around the world. They call for 30km/h speed limit on most urban streets.