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A school run that is a safe and social part of the day, rather than the most toxic and dangerous. A school run where all families have a convenient, sustainable travel choice. A school run where families can easily walk, scoot, cycle, cargo-bike, journey-share, take a train, a public bus or a school bus. A school run that works for everyone.
Sharing the school run not only provides a convenient option for families, it reduces single occupancy car journeys. Connecting families who live near each other means parents can build their local school support network & arrange school run travel within this community. This could be biking or walking each other's kids to school on days when parents are time-pressured; buddying up 11 year olds to get the bus to school together; or it could be car-pooling.
Sustainable school travel apps can enable journey sharing in schools (as well as between schools that are close to each other) and they have achieved a measurable reduction in single occupancy school run car trips where they have been used. They can also collect invaluable data on how pupils are travelling & where they are coming from, which can inform further sustainable travel options. We are encouraging the adoption of this approach across Dulwich schools, with 3 schools signed up to the HomeRun app so far.
We want more convenient, sustainable travel choices...
Improved access to cargo bikes
Commuting more than a mile with primary school children can be very difficult. The average distance children live from London non-catchment primary schools is around 2.5 miles, too far for them to walk or cycle. This makes cargo bikes that carry children a game-changer, as they enable active travel for much longer distances. Additionally, in London traffic, a trip by an e-bike is often quicker than the same journey made by car, so an electric cargo bike also saves parents time. We'd like to improve access to cargo bikes by investigating ways to enable families to easily trial, borrow & or rent them, perhaps through schools. We also recognise how important it is to have places to park & store them safely.
Junior School Minibuses
Since not all pupils live in easy active travel distance from non-catchment schools, primary school mini-buses can provide both a more sustainable and convenient travel option for families. The government acknowledges that primary school travel is challenging for parents, and specifies that there must be free transport for children under 8 who live two miles or more from their nearest suitable school, and for those between 8-13 years, it is three miles. However, in Dulwich very few of the non-catchment schools offer any help with transport to school, suck as mini-buses. Those that do offer a service have very low primary school pupil uptake as the routes are targeted to the needs of secondary school pupils. We'd like to research the steps involved in setting up flexible primary school mini-bus routes & engage with PTAs at Dulwich schools on it.
Transport for London Stars
The TfL STARS scheme has been adopted by over half of London's schools. It is a great way of encouraging active travel through different activities, such as bike buses and active travel reward cards. It helps create an active travel culture around a school, so families recognise all the benefits of walking and wheeling to school, whether that's reducing congestion on the school run or getting more exercise. We believe it's a very useful tool for schools that have pupils who live within active travel distance - under 1.5 miles, and it should be used to encourage them. Pupils that live further away than 1.5 miles should have access to the other options mentioned above.
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