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Mums launch data dashboard to Solve the School Run

Parent campaign group Solve the School Run have launched a data dashboard to allow campaign groups to understand the dynamics of  the school run in their area, enabling them to better present a case for alternative travel initiatives. 

One of the founders of Solve the School Run is Claire McDonald, whose 14 year-old son walks to school each day across a busy part of South East London. She explains: ‘We were so fed up with the danger and pollution our children are surrounded by, every time they walk to school, that we wanted to find a solution.

‘We wanted to know where this traffic was going, and what was causing it. Living in or close to an area with high school run driving rates means this time of day is particularly stressful.’

 

Claire founded the group with Nicola Pastore, another mother from the area, with a mission to empower local communities to take effective and targeted action towards a sustainable school run.

Nicola, a former data analytics consultant and mother of three, said; ‘When we looked into this issue, we were surprised by how little data there was available. The London Travel Demand Survey showed us that school run traffic was about 25% of peak time rush hour traffic, but what does that mean for a local area or school, in terms of how many pupils are being driven and how far? And how many pupils are already travelling sustainably? That is the kind of information that is helpful in understanding better what kind of sustainable travel initiatives will help families.’

The group found that around 70% of children who live within a mile of their school walk or cycle there. In itself it is positive news that 560,000 primary pupils are using an ostensibly healthy method of travel but the problem is that they’re making those journeys alongside very high levels of school run traffic.

The number of children getting to school actively and the level of local traffic on a local school, ward or borough level can be discovered by using the dashboard which also includes an estimate of pupil travel distances and modelled driving rates for school types with longer school runs, such as independent schools (who don’t disclose where their pupils live).

The group are calling for better publicly funded infrastructure, for those journeys over a mile. Nicola says: ‘With so many families travelling more than a mile to school, they need more help to get to school in a way that is healthy, less stressful and doesn’t damage our local environment.

‘That could include electric cargo bikes or staffed walking buses and cycle groups. Imagine if our big cities had yellow buses, like in the US, which remove the need for every parent to go on the journey every day. We need change.’

Claire: ‘We hope our data dashboard helps other parents, who are trying to better understand the traffic all around them, and campaign for safe and healthy streets for their children.

Solve the School Run’s London primary school travel dashboard can be found at: www.solvetheschoolrun.org/our-data

 

 

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