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Partners sought to expand TravelWise to School

Partners sought to help expand TravelWise to School

North Shore City Council is seeking funding partners to help expand its TravelWise to School project, following the success of a pilot programme at Bayswater and Vauxhall Primary Schools.

The first of its type in New Zealand, North Shore City's TravelWise to School programme was introduced in February 2002 to reduce traffic congestion and chaos at the school gate, and encourage more walking, cycling, car pooling and bus travel to and from school.

The programme is a partnership with schools and builds on other successful programmes such as RoadSense and Walking School Buses.

This week the council's works and environment committee endorsed an approach to Infrastructure Auckland to fund any necessary physical works and improvements arising from TravelWise to School plans such as cycleways and safe pedestrian crossings. Other agencies will be approached to help fund staffing and other resource costs.

Committee chairperson Joel Cayford says about 40 per cent of Auckland's peak time traffic is education-related and a major contributor to the region's congestion problems.

"There are a variety of agencies like the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, public health bodies, Transfund, Sport and Recreation New Zealand and the Road Safety Trust that have national strategies and objectives that school travel plans can help realise," says Councillor Cayford.

"These include reducing traffic congestion and energy use to an improvement in children's' health, physical activity levels and safety. Government agencies should support local actions like this."

Joel Cayford praised Infrastructure Auckland (IA) for its support for implementing school travel plans. "IA has already shown the way through its funding for the walking school bus concept. Ten schools have signed up to the scheme in our city. That's resulted in an extra 22 walking school bus routes providing a safe and fun way for children to travel to and from school.

"Now IA is keen to fund a similar strategy for implementing the actions arising from our school travel plans, from the $75m it has set aside for travel demand management initiatives. But we still need more resources and people to support the schools in developing those plans and actions," he says.

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