School travel planning
Everybody knows how much easier it is to travel when the streets are clear during the school holidays.
With more children being driven to school than ever before, blocked roads and congested school gates are a familiar sight. Most children live within walking or cycling distance of their school so it makes sense to give parents and children some school-run alternatives.
School Travel Plans (STPs) are a key tool used to manage traffic and transport across the borough. A STP is a plan that sets out how a school intends to increase levels of walking, cycling and use of public transport for the journey to and from school.
It is developed through a partnership involving the school, the Council (in particular transport and education), the Police, the health authority and the community.
It is based on consultation and engagement with teachers, parents, pupils, governors/boards and other local people.
Travel planning - the act of implementing travel plans - is the real focus. All schools in Richmond upon Thames are engaged in travel planning. The STP programme aims to encourage, promote and support in working towards a healthy, safe and lively whole school community.
A STP is about much more than simply making sure children can get to school on time. By giving children, parents and staff alternatives to using the car everyday for the journey to and from school, there are plenty of other benefits:
- Improved safety of pupils due to less traffic
- Less congestion around the school and in the local community
- Healthier, happier, more alert pupils thanks to ‘active’ travel like cycling and walking
- Less pollution around the school and local area
- Improvements to cycling and walking routes including safer places to cross the road
- Better bike storage at schools through local grants and government funding
- Improved road awareness of pupils
- Greater staff health and well being
- Improved journey reliability for staff, pupils and parents
Evidence of success
Travel plans have demonstrated effectiveness both regionally and locally year on year since their introduction in 2003. Since 2009, 1800 schools with STPs reported on average a 6.2% decrease in car use.
In 2010, data for 2100 schools has shown an average 6.5% decrease in car use- equivalent to 3.3 million annual car journeys, or nearly 12 million fewer car kilometres a year.
In Richmond upon Thames we have seen the same patterns emerge. As STP take up has increased so too have car trips to and from school.
Of participating schools in the borough, from 2008 to 2010 there has been:
- a 2.7% reduction of car trips to school by parents and staff
- a 7% increase in walking trips to school
- a 1.5% increase in car sharing to school
Schools in the borough engaged in travel planning:
Teachers and governors from schools across the borough have also voiced support for STPs:
Paul O’Brien , Facilities Manager, The German School, London
…the publication of our Travel Plan has dramatically affected the way in which students and staff travel to school. In the last three years sole car use has reduced by a factor of 3, whilst car sharing has doubled. A quarter of all students regularly cycle to school, and even when the weather is bad the cycle shelters are full!
Lucy MacArthur, Governor, St Mary’s CE Primary School
Through our School Travel Plan, we have received funding which has allowed us to develop a regular bike club, professionally run, which is a fantastic extra-curricular activity for the children. It has also got us thinking about other ways to promote sustainable travel and we are currently planning an incentive scheme for the staff, to encourage them to leave their cars behind. Without the travel plan to help us identify the opportunities, we wouldn't have been able to have provided so many opportunities for the children, or been able to think so creatively about the promotion of green travel.
Jo Hamblett, Foundation Stage Leader, St Mary’s and St Peter’s CE Primary School
Our School Travel Plan has helped us to identify barriers the staff have in using greener modes of travel to get to work, several staff members wanted to cycle but did not have the means to make this happen, so we were awarded a small grant of £1,050 which we used to buy four bikes for the staff. They are kept at school and are used by staff either to cycle to meetings or to cycle home in the evenings. The bikes are very new therefore we are just beginning to see the benefits that they offer to staff. I believe they will be incredibly popular as a green and healthy way of travelling around.
Let us know about your School Travel Plan - fill out a feedback form.