School and Playground Zone Hours

School and Playground Zone Hours

With the beginning of new school year, please remember, whether you are a driver or a pedestrian, to keep safety in mind as you travel through school and playground zones. As you may know, school and playground zone hours have been changed to one consistent time.

The new hours

School and playground zone hours are now the same. Slow down to 30km/h during these times:

  • Playground zones are in effect from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., all year round.
  • School zones are in effect from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., on school days only.

Why the change?

The City of Calgary talked to school boards, the Calgary Police Service, the Alberta Motor Association, and other municipalities in Alberta about changing school and playground zone times. The following items were consistently mentioned in the discussions:

  • Schools are regularly used past 5:00 p.m., and well into the evening for community sports, clubs and other extracurricular activities. There are still pedestrians after sunset during winter months going to and from hockey rinks, or involved in other activities during hours of darkness and are less visible and at greater risk of being hit. The new hours reflect the times that these areas are being used by children and other pedestrians, and provide drivers with consistent and specific times that can be easily remembered and enforced.
  • The “one hour after sunset” end time for playground zones were not effective. Depending on the time of year, the end times could be as early as 5:30 p.m. in the winter, and as late as 11:00 p.m. in the summer. The unspecified time made it difficult for drivers to follow the rules.

Collision analysis of accidents involving pedestrians in playground and school zones has been completed since the harmonized times were approved by Council. The analysis shows that, per km, there are 2.5 times as many collisions on roadways with a 30 km/h speed limit as compared to roadways with a 50 km/h speed limit. This is most likely due to higher concentrations of pedestrians and children who are less skilled at interacting with traffic. The table below shows that in the last five years there were 8 pedestrian collisions between 1 hour after sunset and 21:00 that could have been potentially prevented or their severity reduced. In contrast, there were only 2 collisions between 21:00 and 1 hour after sunset during the summer months that may have been more severe if they had been in 50 km/h zones.

 

Pedestrian Collisions

It is extremely important to note that the chance of a pedestrian surviving when hit by a vehicle at 50km/h is only 20% (80% chance of death),  when hit by a vehicle at 30 km/h there is a 90% chance of survival (10% chance of death) for a pedestrian.

Travel Time vs. Survivability in Playground Zones

Length of Zone

Travel Speed

Travel Time

Pedestrian Chance of Surviving a Collision

100m

30km/h

12 seconds

90%

50km/h

7.2 seconds

20%

200m

30km/h

24 seconds

90%

50km/h

14.4 seconds

20%

 

 

 

 

 

Travel time impacts

Vehicles travelling 30 km/h can get through a 100 metre school or playground zone in just 4 seconds longer than a vehicle travelling 50 km/h. This 4 second increase in travel time increases a pedestrian’s chance of survival by 70%. For some, this may feel like an inconvenience. But, is it really? Are we so rushed, that we can’t slow down 4 to 8 seconds to increase the survival rate of a pedestrian by 70%?