School Streets tackles the congestion, poor air quality and road safety concerns that many schools experience, by restricting motor traffic at the school gates for a short period of time, generally at drop-off and pick-up times. Sustrans School Streets is our programme to support schools and local authorities to trial and implement school streets across the UK.
The ‘School Streets’ approach is being trialled by a growing number of UK towns and cities.
Sometimes called ‘Healthy School Streets’, ‘School Exclusion Zones’ or ‘Car-Free School Streets’, they lead to more children walking and cycling to school. The result is a happier, safer and healthier street environment for everyone.
How do they work?
School Streets vary from place to place. In most cases, traffic is restricted for 30-60 minutes at either end of the school day. Warning signs are placed and the street becomes a walking and cycling zone. Residents and blue badge holders have access, but through traffic is banned.
Local circumstances are important. Councils in London and Wales may use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras to enforce the School Street. Other councils are placing bollards or temporary barriers to block access.
Talk to us to find out what has worked elsewhere. Our Urban Designers can offer advice on how to get School Streets up and running where you are.
Working in partnership to deliver school streets
Sustrans School Streets is being delivered in association with Playing Out, the non-profit national organisation supporting a growing parent-led movement to reclaim children's freedom to play out and use the streets where they live.
In 2019 we joined forces with Playing Out to help 40 schools across the UK close their road to traffic for the launch of Big Pedal. The award-winning Big Pedal and School Streets campaign received overwhelming public support, with 90% of parents and residents surveyed saying they would support regular traffic-free streets outside schools.
How Sustrans can help you to implement a School Street
Sustrans can provide a comprehensive service to help Local Authorities to implement School Streets.
Our engineers, urban designers and engagement specialists across the UK work closely with schools, communities and local authorities to provide expert advice and resources to implement School Streets. This includes developing School Street policies, feasibility studies and design guidance, engagement, monitoring and trialling and implementing School Streets.
School Streets can also be delivered as part of a Sustrans Schools project.
Working with stakeholders to ensure success
School Streets work best when they are community-powered. Grassroots support combined with political leadership is the key to success.
We work closely with stakeholders, including decision-makers, parents, pupils and residents, to ensure the aim of the scheme is understood and to gain local support.
We use trials to test what is possible and demonstrate the impact of School Streets. We find that once a school community has experienced the calm, traffic-free environment of a School Street, there is widespread support for permanent implementation.
Sustrans Research and Monitoring Unit has developed a specialised monitoring framework for evaluating the impact of School Streets. This is essential to make the case for long-term change.