Bicycle Network: Measure & Understand
Trips to and from school
One of the first exercises in our Ride2School program is to work out where the students live and which route they need to ride to school. This map shows that most students live within 3km of their primary school.
Using a dot map
This process involves using the school’s enrolment data to generate a GIS Map to better understand where the kids are coming from and which elements of their riding environment could be finetuned to make riding to school a more attractive option to them and their parents.
The analysis of each school’s particular scenario has always been a challenge to council’s due to the typically large number of primary schools in each municipality and the fact that the typical primary school’s catchment area is inside a 700m radius.
By being able to identify the key individual physical barriers which make riding to school unattractive, council can have a far greater impact and greater return on investment on streetscapes to help families choose a more healthy and viable form of transport.
Our first pilot, Cambridge Primary School in Hoppers Crossing, has been a great success. Part of this process was using the GIS map to identify what were the local routes that were most likely to be used riding and walking to school. Infrastructure barriers could also be highlighted. Vicroads have agreed to be an active partner in the Ride2School program and have committed to fund route improvements for each school that is involved.
Local streets are important for getting to school and Councils have a role to play in making them safer. Roundabouts on local streets make it much more difficult for pedestrians and bike riders to cross at the intersection as they have to give way in all directions. There are many other methods of slowing traffic speeds in local streets and improving crossing points for pedestrians. See the Campaigns section of our website under 'Local Government Toolbox' for more. Some local councils are also developing walking or cycling groups where children are 'picked up' by a supervisor.
A survey of parents in 34 schools was carried out by the Victorian Greenhouse office in 2003. It found:
- 25% of traffic between 8.00am and 9.00am are trips to school and 80% of those return straight home afterwards. That means 20% of all peak hour traffic are school-only trips
- 80% of primary students and 60% of secondary students live within 3km of their school
- 59% of primary students and 51% of secondary students are driven 5 days per week, literally just around the corner