School Travel Plans
- What is a School Travel Plan?
- Benefits of a Travel Plan
- What does a School Travel Plan involve?
- What Help is Available?
- Walking Bus
- Do you have congestion problems each morning and evening at the school gates?
- Are you concerned about road safety near your school?
- Are you worried about the health and fitness of the children at your school?
Well a School Travel Plan can help you with all these problems. Read on to find out how a travel plan can help your school.
Not long ago most children walked to school. Due to factors such as increased car ownership and the increase in school catchment areas this is no longer the case. However there are many occasions when parents drive their children to school over extremely short distances when it is often practical to walk. This results in congestion, pollution, and an increased risk of road accidents.
A School Travel Plan is a great way to tackle congestion at the school gate and other related problems and help your school to be an Eco-School.
A School Travel Plan is a description of the transport problems in and around your school arising from the journey to and from school by children, parents and teachers.
It is a document setting out your schools aims and objectives and an action plan setting out what measures your school will carry out to reduce the problems caused by the 'school run'.
Possible measures that your school could implement are:
- Walking Bus
- Crossing facilities
- Pedestrian Training
- Traffic calming measures
- Notice board
- Theatre shows
- Car sharing
- Walk to School Week
- Information to new parents
For the School
- Improve safety
- Reduce congestion
- Establish safer walking and cycling routes
- Contribute to an environmental or Eco-school policy
- Links to the national curriculum including citizenship
For the Local Community
- Improve the local environment by reducing air and noise pollution
- Reduce congestion problems
- Improve walking routes
- Improve Road Safety
For the Parents
- Reduce stress and time spent in traffic jams
- Increase parent-child contact
- Build better links with the school
For the Children
- Improve health and fitness by walking and cycling
- Improve travel awareness and road user skills
- Improve awareness of the surroundings
Drawing on best practice examples from other School Travel Plans in the UK it is important to include the following steps in your plan:
- Set out aims and objectives or a mission statement
- Carry out a School Travel Plan survey (contact the Travel Co-ordinator for example of surveys)
- Identify measures
- Set out an action plan with roles and responsibilities and a timescale to complete the measures identified
- Set targets and monitor them
- Publicity - let everyone know what good things your school have been doing!
There is a travel co-ordinator at the Council who is available to help you work through every aspect of your plan. The travel co-ordinator is there to provide advice and assistance in developing your plan and provide resources and identify possible funding opportunities. Contact the travel co-ordinator
The Road Safety team at the Council already provide pedestrian training in all primary schools in Tameside. They also can offer cycle training to some primary schools as well. They also help promote Walk to School Week and can provide you with road safety resources or information.
Through the travel co-ordinator Engineering Services may improve walking routes by providing street lighting, pavement maintenance, crossing facilities and other traffic calming measures where suitable and where identified by the travel survey.
What is a Walking Bus?
Parents organise themselves (possibly using a rota basis) to walk a regular route to school with children. At least 2 adults are needed: one acting as a 'driver' and the other as the 'conductor' who escort a line of children on their journey to school. They walk along a set route picking up more 'passengers' on the way. It is especially useful for children living up to a mile away or for parents dropping their children of on the way to work.
Why the Walking Bus?
Most schools in Tameside have problems with traffic congestion and parking around their school at the start and end of each day. Have you noticed how the roads are much quieter in the school holidays?
A Walking bus can also benefit children in other ways:
- Road Safety
- Pedestrian Skills
- Reduced traffic at the school gates
- In 1985/87 63% of children walked to school, in 1997-99 53% walked
- 50% increase in wheezing symptoms in children over last 30 years
- 15% of pre-school children are over weight, 5% are obese
- A brisk one-mile walk to the school and back takes around half an hour and can burn up to 150 calories.
- It can also help you - 6 out of 10 men and 7 out of 10 women do not get the recommended 'half an hour a day' of physical activity.
- A high percentage of teachers when questioned say that walking in the morning helps kids to wake up fully, settle down in class and are more aware of their environment and road safety issues.
Who is involved?
- Bus Co-ordinator
- Bus Conductor
- Bus Driver
- Teachers and other staff
Road Safety Officer
Other Things to Consider
- Clothing - high visibility jackets
- Consent forms - from parents whose children are on the bus and from children
- Volunteers - checks are needed
- Route and Risk Assessment - Tameside Council will help to check the route
- Insurance - your school should have public liability insurance
- Ratio - Numbers of parents to children
- Incentives - for children and parents
- National Campaigns - Walk to School Week
- Monitor - each bus should have a regular check by the Road Safety Officer
By the Way
- Dogs can be a distraction to children so it's better not to walk with your dogs.
- It's also not a good idea for volunteers to use mobiles when on the walking bus.
- Getting involved in a School Travel Plan is a way of addressing the whole school in raising awareness about travelling to school.
For more information on a Walking Bus for your school please contact us.
The Travel Co-ordinator at Tameside has available a number of resources that your school can either obtain or borrow. These include:
Heart Monitors - Children can measure information about how far and how fast they are walking and measure their own heart beat at the same time
Walking Bus Tabards - There may be the option of obtaining Walking Bus tabards from a number of sources. Contact the Travel Co-ordinator for more information.
Curriculum Resources - There are a number of publications and class lessons that the Travel Co-ordinator has available to introduce School Travel Plan work into the classroom. Contact the travel co-ordinator for more details.
Links and Resources to National Campaigns - for more information and resources about national campaigns such as Walk to School Week please contact the Travel Co-ordinator
Developing the School Travel Plan - To assist you and your school in the development of a travel plan the Council has a number of templates and examples of best practice that you can use as the base of your own travel plan. This includes: