- Aims and objectives
- Unit role
- Partners and stakeholders
- Data sharing
The way in which we travel can have demonstrable effects on health. Road traffic accidents and air and noise pollution can have a negative impact on health, particularly in children whose immune and respiratory systems are still forming and who may have less awareness of road safety. There are also many positive benefits of increased physical activity on health. These may also be more profound in children who are establishing patterns of behaviour which may stick with them throughout their lives.
Schemes to reduce motor traffic at school pick-up and drop-off times are designed to improve health by encouraging children and their families to travel actively to school. However, there is little robust and high-quality evidence to assess the impact of such schemes, the mechanisms by which they work, and their effects across different UK contexts. The CROSS study will gather evidence about the effectiveness of traffic restriction schemes in the UK, with a focus on mechanisms and the theoretical basis by which these interventions work.
The aim of this project is to address the following overarching research questions:
- Do traffic reduction schemes outside schools impact on children’s levels of active commuting and travel and are there differential impacts according to geographical area or socio-economic context
- What are the mechanisms and pathways by these schemes may (or may not) work to change children’s levels of active travel?
- How might the impacts and mechanisms of these vary by context (e.g social, physical, school and community) and how might impacts be optimised across contexts?
This is a natural experimental study. We will select 6-8 sites from across the UK, where traffic restriction schemes have recently been introduced or are due to be introduced soon. These sites will reflect the geographic and demographic heterogeneity of the UK. Our assessment of traffic restriction schemes will involve both quantitative and qualitative methods.
In the quantitative part of the research, we will compare these sites with geographically and demographically similar sites where traffic restriction schemes have not been implemented, using routinely collected data. In the qualitative part of the research, we will talk to children and their families about their experiences of motor vehicle restriction schemes and how their designs could be improved. This will allow us to understand more about the mechanisms by which such schemes work, and how these vary according to context in the UK. Using both quantitative and qualitative approaches will allow us to gain a rich understanding of the effectiveness of these schemes and their underlying mechanisms.
Dr Jenna Panter – University of Cambridge
Dr Olivia Alliott – University of Cambridge
Dr Emma Carey – University of Cambridge
Dr Esther van Sluijs – University of Cambridge
Professor David Ogilvie – University of Cambridge
Professor Cornelia Guell – University of Exeter
Professor Sophie Hadfield-Hill – University of Birmingham
Dr Susanne Boerner – University of Birmingham
Andy Cope – Sustrans
Jenny Babey – Sustrans
Professor Adrian Davis – Edinburgh Napier
Unit led study with responsibility for data.
The trial is sponsored by the University of Cambridge.
This work is funded by a grant from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) School for Public Health (SPHR) in the Healthy Places, Healthy Planet programme.
The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR.
Please see our Data Sharing pages.