TRANSform Scotland Comments on Sustainable Travel to Schools
Posted by chdot on December 4, 2007
Thank you for consulting me on this subject. My comments, which are primarily focussed on transport impacts, are detailed below.
Q1. What should the school of the future be like?
* It should be linked to the local community by high quality walking and cycling routes and should contain showers and changing rooms for cyclists.
* It should be well served by public transport links.
* Car parking provision should be reduced and/or workplace parking charges introduced – why should money for educational purposes be used to provide free parking for staff or pupils?
* Any new builds should incorporate all these facilities – others should be retrofitted.
Q2. How might we get to this future vision?
* Schools should have travel plans designed/monitored by travel planners.
* Sustainable transport should be part of the school curriculum with pupils taught about all aspects of the impact of transport AND encouraged to help design safe routes to school/ cycle facilities etc.
* Teachers/ senior pupils should act as role models.
* Schools should also be outward thinking in terms of their potential to influence the local community in these matters.
* Twinning arrangements and exchange of best practice should be developed with schools in countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands which are so much better than the UK in these matters.
* Govt/ local authority targets should be set for modal share for travel to school and schools should be encouraged to use public transport for school trips – indeed as a teaching mechanism.
NOTE children are taken on buses in Edinburgh (supervised by teachers) on school visits. This could be extended to cycling with the teachers on certain visits – which already happens in countries such as the Netherlands.
* Food used in schools should be locally sourced.
* The health/ exercise agenda should ensure that active travel is seen as a key element – not just sports at school. And finally we must ensure that the freedom of choice and /or centralisation agenda does not compromise sustainable development objectives.
School visits by bike do happen occasionally in Edinburgh. Craigmillar Primary School pupils cycled to The People’s Story some years ago. More recently Lismore Primary paid a cycling visit to new neighbour Queen Margaret University (see photo).
There a few after school cycling clubs, but much more use could be made of cycling (and Edinburgh’s off-road path network) for educational trips – and exercise…