Safer routes to school
Under the Education and Inspections Act 2006, there is a general duty on local authorities to promote the use of sustainable travel and transport. An assessment of the travel and road safety improvement needs for each school and strategy are highlighted and generally tackled through the production of a School Travel Plan (STP).
Safer Routes to School initiatives aim to improve the environment and the safety on roads around the schools to enable and encourage pupils to walk and cycle to their schools. They usually involve a package of road improvement measures supported by other school and community activities using incentives and education, providing the infrastructure and skills to make walking and cycling safer and a smart choice.
Safer Routes to School projects are co-operative ventures between the school, pupils, parents and the local authority. Highway changes alone are not enough to make a Safer Routes to Schools project successful. The barriers that some pupils and parents might encounter on their home to school journeys are identified jointly and listed in the STP.
The school travel plans and barrier reports are reviewed annually and the identified issues assessed based on:
- their risk levels
- the existing safety provisions in place
- the accident numbers if any, and
- the date it was first raised in the STP
The physical measures that are generally used may include:
- Traffic calming measures; such as road humps and speed cushions
- Centre island pedestrian refuge
- Providing suitable pedestrian crossing facilities such as; zebra crossing, pelican or puffin crossing,
- Improved, lighting, signage and road markings
- Implementing 20 mph zone- This is a combination of speed reduction measures and lowering speed limits in an area around the school
- Construction of informal crossings
- Construction of cycle paths and footways; either shared or segregated.
- Formal or informal crossings on a raised table or platform
- School zones