Excellence in Walking

Oakridge Schools Federation use Park & Stride and scooter initiatives to reduce car usage

As an expanding school, a new School Travel Plan was completed in 2016 for the Oakridge Schools Federation who are increasing from two form entry to three. The school was already experiencing a high number of parents driving short distances to school and over filling the community car park adjacent to the school site. This action was causing unnecessary danger to pedestrians. Working with the Hampshire County Council My Journey School Travel Planning Team and walking charity Living Streets, the school was able to implement walking initiatives, including a Park & Stride scheme that quickly saw them achieve Modeshift Bronze and Silver STARS awards and use of car alone on the school run decrease from 43.6% to 13.5% in just one academic year – a phenomenal drop of 30.1% in one academic year. This goes hand in hand with an 18.2% increase in Park & Stride, a 10.2% increase in walking, a 4.5 increase in scooting and a 1.5% increase in cycling.

Local Authority contact details

Kirstie Green, School Travel Plan Adviser, Hampshire County Council My Journey Hampshire, 01962 847955 Kirstie.Green@hants.gov.uk

Who was involved & what was their role?

• Diane Charman, Headteacher, Oakridge Schools Federation • Belinda Evans & Steph Cameron, School Travel Champions, Oakridge Schools Federation • Kirstie Green, School Travel Plan Adviser, HCC – support , advice, liaison with HCC Road Safety • Amy Hartnell, Project Co-ordinator, Living Streets

Details of cost budget, sources of funding

Funding came through HCC’s MJ Travel Planning team via a Public Health grant and Transition grant. This has enabled the team to pay for schools’ access to Modeshift STARS and run initiatives paid for by team. In addition, the MJ team has provided other branded resources such as leaflets, banners and hi viz materials and the loan of the MJ Basil bird mascot to promote key messages and events.

How was it developed?

Basingstoke and Deane agreed for parents to use two local car parks as Park & Stride (P&S) sites. A P&S map was then created highlighting 5, 10 and 15 minute walking zones, entrance gates and School Crossing Patrols (SCP). To encourage increased walking, scooting, cycling and use of the P&S zones, the school launched the Living Streets WOW initiative, participated in Walktober, which celebrates International Walk to School Month, Walk to School Week, scooter training for the whole school, walking events and the annual HCC Scooter Challenge in which it was overall county winner in 2016. Walking safely was imperative so pedestrian skills and road safety training sessions were given including Be Bright Be Seen activities and an additional SCP site secured to cross pupils on the busy Oakridge Road directly outside the school gates. To raise awareness of initiatives and to share information about safe parking and P&S, HCC supported the school with developing a travel to school web page.

What was the outcome, including information on future plans - one-off, on-going, develop further?

The impact of the walking and scooting initiatives can be seen from the hands up survey results: a huge decrease in car alone use from 43.6% to 13.5% in just one academic year. On-going, a barrier has been proposed by HCC to prevent parents parking in the community centre car park as part of the school expansion travel plan. An additional pedestrian entrance will also be installed and additional staff parking, scooter and cycle storage to be funded. HCC has recently secured funding for footpaths across playing fields to the rear of school to enable all year round use of this gate which is currently unpaved. These footpaths will also be used by the local community and school groups to access Basingstoke town centre on foot. The school are now working towards their Modeshift Gold STARS Award and will look to maintain a drip feed of information to parents and pupils and continue to increase the safety of the children arriving and leaving the school

How does this initiative or project meet the criteria?

The walking initiatives were innovative and creative by researching, securing and using local P&S sites. These were promoted and safe walking routes identified with a creative P&S map, including information on the positive impact of walking on parents health. Barriers were identified to walking to and solutions provided. This was achieved with a travel survey to understand how parents were travelling to school, feeding the responses into a School Travel Plan and implementing interventions to encourage health, sustainability and safety on the journey to school.

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