“Since we have started producing these Walk Zone Maps we have seen a 27% increase in more sustainable travel which we are really pleased with”
Sue Benton, School Travel Advisor, Staffordshire County Council
The School Travel team at Staffordshire County Council have been producing 10 and 30 minute walk zone maps for schools in their area to encourage sustainable and active travel for pupils, as well as reducing traffic congestion around schools.
Staffordshire used TRACC software to create 10 minute walk zone maps for primary schools, and 30 minute walk zones for secondary schools, with each map only taking 5-10 minutes to create. “Before we had TRACC, we were unable to run such detailed calculations as we couldn’t include Urban Paths data, but now I can run detailed calculations quickly across the entire county in one go”, Rowley Osborn, Assessment Officer, Staffordshire County Council.
The School Travel team designed a template in line with their branding and to be eye-catching to parents. The template was then customised for each school changing the name and inserting a new map using TRACC. These maps were then printed and included in both new family packs for parents of pupils starting primary school, and transition packs for pupils going from year 6 into year 7.
Sue Benton, School Travel Advisor at the councils explains “the new school packs are concerned with behaviour change and habit setting. With a new job, a new house, a new school, the first 2 weeks sets the pattern as to how you are going to travel for the next 4 or 5 years so those first weeks are crucial. We decided to put together the new family pack to help parents plan their new journey to school. The transition packs for new secondary school pupils are issued to encourage parents and their children to think about their travel choices to their new school”.
Also, Sue recognises that getting pupils walking early and regularly, allows them to build knowledge and confidence to ensure safety as they progress through the schools. “The more they walk now, its good practice for them, good independence training and they get to know the safest route to use on their journey to school”.
These walk zone leaflets for family packs and transition packs have been extremely popular with schools. Headteachers think they are fantastic as a major concern for them is to try and alleviate congestion outside their school, as well as encourage active travel for pupils and parents. Having the 10 minute walk zones disperses the traffic and alleviates parking pressure. From measuring the impact of these maps, Staffordshire have noted a 27% increase in more sustainable travel.