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School travel plans

Information on school travel plans including benefits and a step by step guide to developing one.

A school travel plan is a package of measures to encourage pupils and parents to walk or cycle to school. The measures vary depending on the needs of the school.

School travel plans are not anti-car. We do recognise that some parents have little choice but to drive their children to school. They might include alternatives such as car-sharing and ‘park and stride’ – where drivers park further away from school and complete the journey on foot. ‘Park and stride’ can also link up with ‘Walking Bus’ routes, where trained adults supervise a group of children walking along.


School travel plans do not just reduce congestion at the school gates.

  • They improve health and fitness. There is a real concern that today’s children are not getting enough exercise. If children walk or cycle to school, regular exercise becomes part of their routine. This helps combat obesity and health problems like heart disease
  • They improve road safety skills. Children who are always driven to school only experience roads from the back seat of a car. This makes them very vulnerable when they have to make the journey independently – often when they go to secondary school. Accident statistics for this age group reflect this
  • They facilitate social interaction. Pupils can chat with other children and adults while walking to school. They become more aware of the environment and the changing seasons

Developing a school travel plan

It is important that as wide a section of the school community as possible is involved in developing the school travel plan and putting it into practice.
A working group should be set up including:

  • Teachers
  • Governors
  • Parents
  • Students (the school council is often involved)
  • A local authority representative
  • Depending on the needs of the school, you could also include non-teaching staff, local residents, and representatives from the parish council, police or health authority

Step-by-step guide

  1. Begin by consulting parents, schools, the local community and local authorities. You need agreement from the head and governors. You should set up a working group
  2. Carry out a travel survey among pupils, parents and staff. Ask them how they get to and from school, and why. Ask what dangers they see along their route and what might make them change how they travel
  3. Set clear objectives. Collate data to identify current travel patterns and the reasons for these. Audit the walking and cycling routes available to identify practical measures to encourage people to use them. Explore sources of funding
  4. Develop your plan and promote it. Explain the benefits to pupils, parents, staff and the local community
  5. Monitor your plan and review it regularly. You may need to make changes. Your plan should be integrated into an existing school development plan or school improvement plan to ensure the school is committed to it in the long term

How long does it take?

Setting up a travel plan can take about one year. But it is a ‘living document’ that should be continuously reviewed and changed.

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