Over the past four years, Crawley school communities working with Sustrans have seen a reduction from 27% of school journeys being made by car to 22% now. There has also been a rise in the number of students cycling to school regularly, with increases to over 25% of children travelling to school by bike.
We have been working with schools across Crawley since 2011 to help improve students’ health and wellbeing and reduce congestion, parking problems and air pollution around schools.
Across the UK, up to one in four cars on the road in the morning is there because of the school run. This contributes to busy traffic, can reduce pedestrian and cyclist safety, and contribute to nitrogen dioxide and CO2 build up around the school gates.
We were commissioned by Crawley Borough Council to work closely with the local schools to turn that around.
With activities such as learning to fix punctures, ‘get off your stabilizers’ sessions, learn to ride and ‘be bright- be seen’ dress up days, students, staff and parents have opportunities to build their skills and confidence in a safe environment to prepare them to cycle to school.
Walking and scooting are on the agenda too, and pupils have learnt about air pollution and how to avoid busy roads on their journeys to school to minimise their exposure to poor quality air.
Last academic year saw 83 school activities across 13 different schools.
Seymour Primary has worked with Sustrans to increase its active travel to school, which now stands at 68% of children walking, cycling or scooting to school regularly.
With our officer’s help, the school has successfully raised nearly £7,500 for new bike shelters. This has included match funding from Crawley Borough Council and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
Steven Hand, Crawley School Games Organiser at the school said: “Our Sustrans officer has been instrumental in increasing the level of physical activity, health awareness, safety and finding funding for our school. Without him we could not have made the progress we have.”
100% of teachers who responded to our annual survey reported that the project had a positive impact on raising awareness of the health, environmental and air quality benefits of active travel.
PE Lead Matt Eagle at The Mill TKAT Academy has been very pleased with the progress made in their first year of the project. He said: “Sustrans has helped us raise the profile of cycling and scooting to school with a number of exciting activities. This has helped our children be more active and learn more about cycling and being safe on bikes and scooters.
Already the school has seen over 12% reduction in regular car journeys to The Mill, and has put plans in place for this academic year to start running events themselves.