The effects of local and non-local traffic on child pedestrian safety: A spatial displacement of risk
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In most places, motor-vehicle traffic volume is associated with increased risk of child pedestrian injury; however, the burden of risk is geographically complex. In some neighbourhoods, proportionally fewer drivers may be local, meaning that the moral and practical responsibility of risk to children is displaced from one place (e.g., the suburbs) to another (e.g., downtown). Using the City of Toronto, Canada, as a case study, this research asks two related questions: 1) what is the variation in traffic volume by neighbourhood of origin and socioeconomic status and 2) what is the relationship between the geographical origin of traffic and the risk of collisions involving child pedestrians and motor-vehicles? We find that low-income downtown neighbourhoods have the highest proportion of non-local traffic. We also find that while higher local traffic activity is associated with lower risk of collision, higher flow-through traffic activity (excluding traffic from major thoroughfares) is associated with higher risk of collision. We interpret the former as very likely a proxy of parents' frequency of chauffeuring children to school, and the latter an illustration of the spatial displacement of risk between Toronto neighbourhoods. Our results suggest that more attention needs to be paid to account for the externalization of harm experienced by children, particularly in low-income downtown neighbourhoods.
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