Over the last 20 years the number of children being driven to school has doubled, yet many live close enough to walk.
Today almost 20% of cars on urban roads at 8:50am are on the 'school run', causing increased congestion, pollution and parking problems around schools.
The subsequent decline in the number of children walking or cycling has serious implications for children's health and fitness, as well as their independence and well being.
The Government's aim is to return the levels of walking, cycling and bus journeys to those of the mid 1980s. It sees school travel plans as the key to changing and improving journeys to school, and requires each school to have one in place by 2010 (2009 for London schools).
School travel plans are a means of addressing these issues by looking at all the problems caused by travel to and from school, and then putting together a package of solutions to help increase sustainable modes of transport and decrease the use of cars.
What is a school travel plan?
A school travel plan is a document produced by the school that sets out how it is going to encourage pupils and staff to walk, cycle or use public transport on school journeys, in order to reduce the number of car journeys to and from school.
In order to be successful a school travel plan needs to have the input and support of pupils, parents, staff, the LA and other relevant partners such as the neighbourhood police team, local residents etc.
The school travel plan should been used as a 'living' document, which is reviewed and updated annually.
Benefits of a school travel plan
- Improved safety and reduced pollution
- Reduced traffic congestion and parking problems outside schools
- Improved relationships with school neighbours and the local community
- Access to funding for cycle infrastructure (sheds/lockers) and free cyclist training
- Enables schools to meet the new standard for Healthy Schools status
- Provides opportunities for learning
- Provides opportunities for consultation with the school community that can be fed into your OFSTED Self-Evaluation Forms
- Positive publicity
- Access to funding for projects and free walking initiative resources (WoW, Walk to School etc).
- Access to Capital grant funding
- Increased travel awareness and independence
- Improved road and personal safety skills
- Improved fitness through increased levels of walking and/or cycling
- More opportunities for social interaction with friends and parents
- Greater awareness of the local environment
- Enhanced sense of citizenship through consultation
For parents and staff:
- Building links between parents and strengthening home to school links
- Making the local area safer and reducing concerns about safety at the school gate
- Opportunity to incorporate exercise into the daily routine
- Less time spent sitting in traffic congestion
- Saving money by using travel modes which are free or cheaper than using a private car
- Reducing family carbon footprint
Help and advice
The London Borough of Bexley has dedicated school travel advisers to support schools with every aspect of writing, implementing and monitoring a school travel plan.
School travel advisers can assist with:
- Advice about how to write a school travel plan
- Travel mode surveys of pupils, parents and staff
- Attending STP working group meetings
- Speaking at parents' meetings and assemblies
- Accessing funding to implement actions
- Liaising with other Council services such as Road Safety, Engineering and Healthy Schools.
If you would like help, please contact the School Travel Team using the contact details to the right of this page.
- Road Safety Education Full details for Road Safety Education