To shed some light in the much-debated issue of school traffic, we gathered data from six schools we have worked at in the last couple of years (click on the image above to see the details). In most of the charts, you can see that at least half of the students arrive by car (blue portion) and a small percentage of students walk (yellow) and cycle to school (pink). Public transport (orange) and school bus (green) usage have a greater variation from one school to another. The scenario in each school doesn’t change much when it comes to pick-up mode share.
Of course, there are exceptions, such as School 2, which has a more balanced mode share between public transport, school bus and car, which is the transport mode of less than 40% of the students. However, very few students walk to school and cycling is not chosen by any of the surveyed students.
Therefore, even though the mode share varies in different schools according to factors such as surrounding transport network, bus services provided by school and the accessibility of the site by car, the graphics above indicate the impact of private car in the school transport environment.
Reducing congestion generated by school traffic and improving the safety of students are great concerns affecting not only parents but commuters in general. Understanding how students get to and from school is the first step to finding suitable solutions.
What is your view on this matter? Have you seen any interesting initiatives to mitigate these issues?
Sutherland Shire Council recently engaged Rideabiity to undertake a cycle to school pilot project with the intent to reduce traffic congestion around two selected schools, as well as facilitate a healthy activity and foster long term positive travel behaviour change and road safety awareness (that will persist when they eventually become car drivers). The outcome exceeded expectations and I strongly suggest that this type of program should be nationally funded as a core ongoing program for all schools. The report and a short video is at the following link – http://www.sutherlandshire.nsw.gov.au/Outdoors/Sport/Cycling-Events-and-Project-Updates#cycletoschool
The obsession with private schools in Australian cities is a major contributor to this increased reliance on cars. A change in attitude towards public schools is required and this is best achieved through significant increases in government investment to make public schools attractive options for parents. Other countries such as Germany and the US do not have a culture of elite private schools and it’s time Australia reconsidered this obsession.