New study looks at how we can improve school transportation safety

damaged crosswalkJune 2022 – The Hillsborough Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) partnered with the City of Tampa to work on a new School Transportation Safety Study. To get started, Hillsborough County Public Schools and the TPO invited all parents and guardians to participate in the 2022 Getting Students to School Survey. The group also sent a Principals Survey to each school to learn about the transportation challenges and successes their students experience on their daily trips to and from school. The answers to both surveys will be combined with other data to guide the School Transportation Safety Study.

The team began completing detailed transportation reviews of school arrival and dismissal processes during early May. Schools chosen for in-depth assessments were identified by the number of serious crashes within their boundary, if the school was in an underserved community, the percent of students receiving free or reduced lunch, and a few other factors like the road characteristics and proximity to other community services. The eight schools selected were:

  1. Shaw Elementary
  2. Orange Grove Middle
  3. Jefferson High School
  4. Stewart Middle
  5. Just Elementary
  6. Blake High School
  7. Potter Elementary
  8. West Tampa Elementary

Field observations included:

  1. General count of bikes and pedestrians and where they are coming from
  2. Where people are crossing
  3. Queue length in the carpool line
  4. How the carpool line works
  5. How many take the public bus and school bus
  6. Any bad behaviors or noteworthy observations

A survey has been sent to all student households to discover how children get to school, what challenges they face, and where along the route are improvements needed.  A separate survey was also sent to all school administrators to learn about what they are doing to promote walking and bicycling to school. The results of these surveys will help identify specific roadway projects and also help customize safe access to school campaigns.

Once complete, the study will identify a set of schools for a more detailed transportation review in the hopes of improving car line circulation, enhancing the safety of current routes to school, and encouraging students to walk, bike, and ride the bus to school. To find out more information about the study, contact Lisa Silva at silval@plancom.org or 813-665-1329.

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