Timing and effect of a safe routes to school program on child pedestrian injury risk during school travel hours: Bayesian changepoint and difference-in-differences analysis

DiMaggio, Charles J.; Chen, Qixuan; Muennig, Peter A.; Li, Guohua

Background: In 2005, the US Congress allocated $612 million for a national Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program to encourage walking and bicycling to schools. We evaluated the effectiveness of a Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS) in controlling pedestrian injuries among school-age children. Methods: Bayesian changepoint analysis of quarterly counts of pedestrian injuries among 5 to 19-year- old children in New York City between 2001 and 2010 during school-travel hours in census tracts with and without SRTS. Overdispersed Poisson modeling for difference in differences following the changepoint. Results: In SRTS-intervention census tracts, a change point in the quarterly counts of injuries was identified in the second quarter of 2008, which was consistent with the timing of the implementation of SRTS interventions. In census tracts with SRTS interventions, the estimated quarterly rates of pedestrian injury per 10,000 population among school-age children during school-travel hours were 3.47 (95% Credible Interval [CrI] 2.67, 4.39) prior to the changepoint, and 0.74 (95% CrI 0.30, 1.50) after the changepoint. There was no change in the average number of quarterly injuries in non-SRTS census tracts . Overdispersed Poisson modeling revealed that SRTS implementation was associated with a 44% reduction (95% Confidence Interval [CI] 87% decrease to 130% increase) in school-age pedestrian injury risk during school-travel hours. Conclusions: Bayesian changepoint analysis of quarterly counts of school-age pedestrian injuries correctly identified the timing of SRTS intervention in New York City. Implementation of the SRTS program in New York City appears to be effective in reducing school-age pedestrian injuries during school-travel hours.

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Injury Epidemiology

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October 8, 2014