Phoenix School Safety Program

Phoenix, Arizona
Source: Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC)


Students in Phoenix faced excessive motor vehicle speeds and inadequate pedestrian infrastructure at crossings.


The Phoenix School Safety Program was developed by a task force created following a tragic collision involving a young student who ran into a busy street against a traffic signal. The task force included a local parent and individuals from the local police, transportation, highway safety, and law departments, as well as representatives from local schools.

Sample walking map for Orangewood Elementary School.


The task force recommendations yielded eleven major changes. The recommendations included a combination of education, enforcement, and facilities improvement. Education measures included a new School Crossing Guard training video, which was produced in English and Spanish to be used in all subsequent training programs. A new training handbook (English and Spanish version) was developed and distributed, in addition to a "Safest Route to School" walking plan to encourage parents and students to safely walk to school. In addition, a School Safety Summit brought together the state's school and traffic officials to work together to implement the recommendations.

For enforcement measures, a school crossing safety audit was developed to help identify those areas of a school most in need of improvement. Phoenix also equipped schools with radar-controlled cameras mounted to vans to enforce the speed limit during school start and dismissal times.

Other improvements included the installation of "SCHOOL" pavement markings on roads approaching the school area, fluorescent yellow-green school warning signs, safety vests for guards, staggered crosswalks, and two trial active speed monitors that flash when a driver's speed exceeds the speed limit during school operating hours. An experimental in-pavement flashing crosswalk was installed at a local high school. Once activated by a pushbutton, the device issues verbal warnings to pedestrians that cars may not stop. Additionally, school staff developed a set of guidelines for drop-off and pick-up times to reduce congestion and spillover onto the street in front.

Funding of $500,000 per year was provided by the City of Phoenix.


The program resulted in the most significant advance in safety at Arizona schools since the inception of the 15 mi/h school zone in 1950. The program reached 400 schools statewide, 6,872 speed citations were given, 11 Safest Route to School walking plans were completed, and 173 crossing safety audits were conducted.


Thomas E Callow, P.E.
Street Transportation Director
The City of Phoenix
200 West Washington Street, 6th Floor
Phoenix, AZ 85003
(602) 262-6136 or (602) 262-7597

Image Source

Institute of Transportation Engineers Pedestrian Project Award Application. City of Phoenix.

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