These are the most frequently asked questions around lower speed limits for school zones and playground zones. Find out why 30km/h will improve safety around areas where children learn and play.

Why 30 kilometres per hour?

Under ideal conditions, vehicles traveling at 50 km/h require 24-28 meters to stop. Add another 10 meters when roads are wet or icy. Vehicles traveling 30 km/h need only 8-10 meters in ideal conditions (and another 5 meters in poor conditions). By slowing down, motorists have a better opportunity to react when children are crossing the road, and students stand a better chance of surviving a pedestrian/vehicle collision.

What are the percentages of survival under 50 km/h and 30 km/h?

At 30 km/h, nine out of 10 people would survive a car crash; at 40 km/h, seven out of 10 people would survive; and at 50 km/h, less than two out of 10 people would survive. The probability of a fatality or serious injury for people walking increases as the speed increases.

How many collisions are occurring at playgrounds?

In the five years before playground zones were first installed, 65 injury collisions involving children aged 15 or younger have occurred in areas that were covered by the Playground Zones; 20% of these injuries resulted in the need for the children to be hospitalized.

How many kids are using the playground at 9pm?

In the five years before playground zones were first installed, four of the injury collisions in playground areas involving pedestrians 15 years and younger occurred between the hours of 8 and 9pm. This suggests that there are children who are using the playgrounds during the later hours.

How many kids are using the playground in the winter?

In the last five years before playground zones were first installed, 17% of the injury collisions in playground areas involving pedestrians 15 years and younger occurred in the months of November, December and January. This suggests that there are children who are using the playgrounds during the winter months.

Why were the original school zones converted to playground zones?

School zones were first installed in 2014 with a speed limit of 30 km/h and effective from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm during school days. Playground zones were installed in 2017 also with a speed limit of 30 km/h but in effect from 7:30 am to 9:00 pm every day. The inconsistency in the effective times of the reduced speed limit resulted in driver confusion. To avoid confusion, all school zones were converted to playground zones.

Extending the hours of 30km/h zones around schools protects children attending after-hour activities. In addition, having consistent start and end times for 30 km/h zones reduces driver confusion around what days and which hours reduced speed limits are in effect.

What times and days are playground zones in effect?

The speed limit in playground zones is 30 km/h between 7:30 am - 9:00 pm every day.

How many playground zones are there?

There are currently 386 playground zones in the City:

  • Standalone School
  • Standalone Playground
  • Combined School/Playground
Why are playground zones installed only around elementary and junior high schools and not all schools?

Young children are at the greatest risk for pedestrian-related injury and death. They lack the cognitive ability to judge speeds and safe situations. By installing playground zones around schools with elementary and junior high grades, we are able to protect the most vulnerable road users in Edmonton.

I saw a school on a main road with no playground zone signs. Why is that?

Playground zones are installed at schools on residential and collector roads, not arterial roads.

Can an area without playground equipment be designated as a playground zone?

Any area where children frequent can be marked as a playground for the safety of the children, even if there is no playground equipment.

How far does the playground zone extend?

Motorists are required to slow down to 30 km/h from the start of the zone and stay at that rate of speed until after they have passed the sign which indicates the end of the 30 km/h zone.

Won't 30km/h speed limits at the playground zones increase traffic congestion and lead to more idling?

Since major high-speed roads won’t be affected, this will mostly alter the first and last minute of a car drivers’ commute as they enter/exit quieter neighbourhood streets where average speeds are already low especially during non-ideal driving conditions, such as night, rain/snow storms, ice/snow ruts in winter, parked cars and narrower lanes and similar.

Reduced speed not only results in safer roads but also supports people using many methods of transportation, which ultimately reduces the number of vehicles using the roads and minimizes traffic congestion. In places that have implemented 30km/h speeds limits, there has been less traffic issues. 
 
Also, the dominant cause of traffic congestion is intersection bottlenecks, such as traffic signals and stop signs, not midblock speed.

Are 30 km/h speed limits enforced?

Yes. Unfortunately, some drivers only obey the speed limit when there is the threat of enforcement. The Edmonton Police Service, along with the City’s Traffic Safety section, use a combination of manned and automated enforcement in 30 km/h zones.

What is the process for using automated enforcement in playground zones?
  • Playground zone signs are posted
  • Then sites are assessed for possible enforcement
  • Edmonton Police Service (EPS) reviews and approves the sites
  • Sites are monitored (for up to a month) for compliance to the speed limit to determine if enforcement is required
  • Automated enforcement begins

Note that EPS can enforce the 30 km/h speed limit from the moment the playground zone signs are posted.