Parents express discontent over school traffic plans

12.01 | 26 September 2019 | | | 4 comments

The vast majority of parents are unsatisfied with how their child’s school is dealing with traffic at peak times, with more than half reporting ‘chaos’, a new survey suggests.

The survey was carried out by the AA, who canvassed the views of more than 3,000 parents about the efforts made to reduce the number of cars at the school gate.

Most respondents (91%) said there isn’t an effective school traffic management plan in place at the beginning and end of the day – while 56% reported ‘chaos’ at these times. 

In terms of active travel, 42% of parents say their school actively encourages pupils to walk to school – a figure which drops to 20% when it comes to cycling.

To help parents ‘defeat the school run traffic’, the AA has created a new video, providing top tips and advice, as well as answering questions such as:

  • Do schools have their own speed limits?
  • Could using cars during the school run be banned over concerns about air pollution? 

Edmund King, AA president, said: “The best travel plans are made by the pupils themselves as they can convince their parents what is best for them and the school. 

“Just banning drop-off areas in cars means the problem shifts into the next street. Asking both kids and parents when and how they might get to school without the car might produce solutions that work for that community.

“While there is no universal solution to the problem, walking and cycling levels have not increased for 15 years, therefore a more collective effort is needed to tackle the issue.

“Schools may need more storage space for bikes and scooters. Local councils should provide more buses and employers should be more flexible to allow parents to walk their children to school.”

Steve Horton, Road Safety GB’s director of communications, said: “Congestion outside many schools at peak times is nothing new, although with the general trend for increased traffic the challenges it causes seem to increase annually. 

“This congestion adds to the complexity of the situation which makes it more obvious to drivers that they are in a higher risk area. 

“This clear complexity means most road users negotiate the area with an enhanced level of concentration and hence the amount of serious crashes around schools is thankfully low. 

“However, a product of reducing congestion and traffic flows outside schools is increased perceptions of safety and creating a nicer, calmer environment that encourages more people to walk and cycle. 

“Of course most of the difficulties outside schools caused by inconsiderate drivers is actually caused by the very group that has to deal with the complex situation; parents. 

“So parents can influence greatly the risk to children that many of them create, as well as do their own children the huge benefit of letting them walk or cycle to school in a supervised way so that they can gain vital experience in dealing with a range of road traffic.”



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    It never ceases to amaze me that the people who cause the traffic problem around schools, are the first people to complain that the school or Local Authority is not doing enough to solve the problem, and the school or Local Authority suggest solutions, the very same people who complained in the first place, are the very people who raise objections. If parents would only sit down and think of what THEY can do to solve the problem, the problem may disappear and we end up with a fitter, healthier and more sociable nation. In my time I have observed children being transported to a school, a distance of 100metres, then the parent returning home.

    Derek C Donald, Inverness
    Agree (13) | Disagree (0)

    Who’s guidelines is it that means that children are unable to be able to push a cycle along their walking route for the sections which are unsuitable for cycling?

    By removing that as an option it increases the number of children who are going by car. Also by improving cycle facilities for school children you improve facilities for all, which reduces traffic congestion.

    Agree (6) | Disagree (0)

    Nothing new here in the parents views reflected in the article or in the problems/possible solutions.

    Perhaps the AA should have surveyed the schools instead and then they could have reported “Schools exasperated by the majority of parents who drive being reluctant to make life style changes to reduce congestion, road safety risk, air pollution etc, etc”

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (18) | Disagree (1)

    It’s news to me that schools are somehow responsible for traffic management in their vicinity.

    Were any of the respondents to the survey part of the problem I wonder? i.e. do any of the ‘vast majority of parents who were unsatisfied’ regularly drive their children to school?

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
    Agree (18) | Disagree (2)

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