A 3-year project encouraging school students to actively travel as part of their journey to school by means of either walking, cycling or scooting
Sustrans helps schools address low physical activity levels, road safety issues and increasing budgetary pressures, by helping young people travel actively and safely to school. Through our school’s officer model, we implement engaging initiatives and activities which work alongside the curriculum to embed a culture of active travel amongst the entire school community.
The Sustrans Active Travel Officers (operating in locations across Devon, including Exeter and Cranbrook) work alongside the schools to develop and implement a bespoke package of lessons, training, events, activities, competitions and advice for children, parents and staff. This package improves the health and wellbeing of pupils and their families, while reducing traffic congestion and improving the local environment.
The initiatives delivered by the project include Raising Awareness, by means of assemblies and communications with the school and parents. Empowerment, with activities such as “Dr Bike” (safety-checking bikes), bike and scooter skills sessions and air quality workshops, is followed by Action with active travel breakfasts, challenges such as “The Big Pedal” and “Leg it to Lapland”, competitions, led walks and rides.
To ensure a legacy beyond the project, Officers provide resources and training to School Champions (a selected member of school staff) to enable them to deliver activities themselves. This will help schools to continue promoting active travel once the Officer leaves the school.
Sustrans have also piloted and delivered school street co-design projects with the community. School traffic and street design outside the school gates can significantly influence the way in which children travel to and from school. To understand and address these issues, and find innovative ways to make it easier for families to actively travel to school, the School Officers work alongside Sustrans Design and Engineering team to deliver workshops within and outside the school. The sessions task pupils and the local community with developing their vision of a street to encourage walking and cycling, which we then develop into concept designs. These designs can then be trialled on the streets outside the school to gain feedback from the school and local community, which further inform the proposal.
Sustrans then works alongside Devon County Council for support and to install the final intervention. Sustrans has so far worked with nine schools in this way, with St Michael’s Church of England Primary Academy, Exeter, being the first to progress to the installation phase.