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Sustainable travel to schools (School Travel Plan)

A School Travel Plan sets out a number of practical steps which promote sustainable travel and improve levels of safety, health and fitness through reducing traffic and congestion. We aim to work with all schools to develop School Travel Plans. 

The promotion of sustainable travel is raising awareness of the alternatives to travel by car through encouraging walking, cycling or taking public transport.

It looks in detail at children's needs on the school journey and attempts to address them by finding the right solution for each individual school. A school travel plan also has clearly stated aims, objectives and targets that are achievable, measurable and are supported by the whole school, children, parents and the wider community. It is a living document that becomes embedded into school life and policy.

View the Sustainable Modes of Travel to School Strategy (SMOTS) here (PDF).

Safer routes to schools programme

The safer routes to schools programme works on practical solutions to encourage children to walk or cycle to school.

As part of the school travel plan process safer routes to schools is the mechanism for the delivery of highway, footway and other capital improvements associated with enabling children to make a safer, healthier and more sustainable journey to school.

Schools with authorised School Travel Plans are prioritised for safer routes funding based on a number of criteria including the age range of children, potential for modal shift and casualty reduction.

Some examples of the measures that have been provided as part of the Borough's safer routes to schools project include the following:

  • Zebra crossings
  • Signal-controlled crossings
  • Pedestrian guard rails
  • Cycle parking at schools
  • Cycle lanes on road
  • School flashing lights
  • Improved signing around schools
  • 20 mph zones
  • Traffic calming to reduce vehicle speeds
  • Posts to protect verges from parked cars
  • Narrowed junction mouths to reduce the distance people have to cross
  • Shared footway/cycle ways
  • Extensions to school keep-clear markings with traffic regulation orders

What should go where depends very much on the individual circumstances, as well as the legal regulations by which all councils are bound in relation to some types of engineering works. The various aspects are discussed with the school community and the Travel Plan working group and the measures provided a result of school travel plan consultation with pupils and parents.

Safer Routes to Schools funding is not dependent on an accident record at a site, although it can be an important consideration. We recognise the paradox that some places are seen as so dangerous that no-one walks or cycles and therefore there are no accidents.

We are also keen to remove the barriers associated with walking and cycling to school which may well include concerns about personal safety as well as road safety.

Improvements should provide benefits for both the journey to school and the community as a whole.

We are very interested in a dual approach – providing engineering measures within the context of a school travel plan. In this way the pupil's will also receive the education and training that they need to improve their skills and confidence.