Go to navigation

Safer routes to school

Many schools in Medway face traffic chaos at the beginning and end of the school day, creating danger for children crossing roads to and from school.

The number of children travelling to school by car has doubled over the last 20 years, with up to one in five cars at the peak of the morning rush hour being school-run related.

According to the Department for Transport's National Travel Survey: 2009, 50 per cent of primary school children walked to school and a further 42 per cent were driven. For secondary school children, 38 per cent walked to school, 22 per cent by car and a further 33 per cent used bus services.

We recognise that although most primary school children live within a 20-minute walk of their school, a number of parents still choose to drive their children to school because of anxiety about their safety on the road. This has led to an increase in traffic, causing added congestion outside school gates at school drop-off and collection times.

We are aware that parents' desire to drive their children and protect them from the increasing traffic levels is having a negative impact on children's health and wellbeing.

Children are not only affected by the increased air pollution around schools, but also limit their recommended 60 minutes of exercise per day and fail to develop road safety awareness skills. All of these items could be addressed by travelling to school more actively.

The aims of safer routes to school are to:

  • increase children's road safety skills on the way to school
  • decrease the number of school journeys by car, which in turn will reduce congestion and improve air quality
  • promote the use of active ways to travel (see our walking bus and park & stride schemes)
  • increase the fitness and health of children.

Further information about safer routes to school is available in our Local Transport Plan 3.

We encourage schools to take a step in the right direction through developing their school travel plans, providing school communities with a framework for making the journey to school a safe, enjoyable and pleasant part of the day.