|University of Otago
|Schools; Active transport; Road crossings; Neoliberalism; Volunteers; New Zealand; School traffic safety
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New Zealand schools can elect to implement school traffic safety programmes such as walking school buses (WSBs) and assisted road crossings as a means to enhance child safety on the home to school journey. These initiatives require initial collaboration between the school and associated agencies. Schools and parent volunteers are often left to assume responsibility for operating and maintaining the programme. Each school community is different and will have site-specific needs and varying access to personnel and financial resources. In addition, the policy requirements and broader goals of the government and agencies, as well as the neoliberal educational environment, may have an influence on the school’s ability and willingness to introduce an initiative. Few studies have investigated the experience of key individuals representing schools and agencies and their perceptions concerning the implementation of school traffic safety programmes. This research focused on a case study of a Dunedin primary school’s attempt to install a road crossing initiative operated by parent volunteers. The purpose of the study was to explore the experiences and perceptions of the school and the agencies involved in the process of installing the road crossing initiative, in order to determine the factors that affected the successful implementation of the crossing. A qualitative research approach was used. The methods for data collection included open-ended interviews, document analysis, and the researcher’s reflexive diary. Interviews were conducted with the school principal, board of trustees chairperson, and a parent volunteer. Representatives from agencies including the Dunedin City Council, New Zealand Police, Ministry of Education, and Sport Otago were approached for comment via email. Data were transcribed from the taped interview sessions, and an inductive process was used to identify categories and themes from the data. In this case study the school was unable to install the adult-assisted road crossing. Findings revealed that a lack of parent volunteers was a significant factor affecting the initiative’s success, thus schools should work to strengthen the school-parent partnership. The processes that schools are expected to follow when installing road safety initiatives clearly do not work for every school, and each one has unique factors that may impact on its ability to maintain road safety initiatives.