Sustainable Solutions For Solving the 'School Run'?
J R Seymour, A R Woodside, B Gunay, Transport & Road Assessment Centre, UK
In GB numerous schemes have been developed to tackle the ?school run?, however many of these may have been based on an incomplete and inaccurate appreciation of the situation, why so many pupils are driven and the most appropriate strategic solutions for reducing car use.
If the Transportation environment in GB appears to be ?challenging? due to the ?school run?, then the situation in Northern Ireland is much worse. Approximately 1?2 of primary school age children are driven to school and there are no full time schemes such as walking buses or cycling trains to offer as alternatives to the ?school run?.
This paper details the latest research from the Northern Ireland School Travel Study, performed by TRAC, and looks at 3 separate case studies examining school bus usage and attitudes, the likelihood of cycling to school in both rural and urban areas and the effect of the staggered school start times on modal choice and urban traffic congestion.
The NI STS has involved questioning primary and secondary school pupils throughout Northern Ireland to examine their current travel modes. The overall aim of the study is to reduce the impact of the ?school run? by examining the issues that influence parents into driving their children to school, how they could travel to school, as well as shedding light on the differences between the pupils who are driven to school and pupils who walk to school. The paper also examines issues such as car ownership, parental socio-economic groupings and the feasibility of alternative forms of travel such as walking, cycling and school bus services.
The paper details the lessons learnt from the 3 case studies and the appropriateness of the various measures on reducing car dependency. TRAC have categorised these measures as the 3Ts: ?Travel?, ?Township? and ?Time?. ?Travel? measures are the range of schemes designed to provide an alternative to car use, these can include new public transport arrangements, walking buses and cycling trains. ?Township? measures are the Safer Routes to School type schemes that are designed to make pupils and their parents feel more comfortable about walking and cycling to school. ?Time? is the concept of staggering school and business start times with the aim of lowering peak period traffic flow, and hence congestion.
The paper concludes with the operational recommendations for School Travel/Transport practionners that can be learnt from the NI experiences, and how these could be applied to other urban areas, particularly areas where public transport coverage is limited.
Association for European Transport