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Travelwise to School programme


Travelwise to School programme

A programme aimed at reducing education travel is to be extended to more schools in North Shore City following the granting of further funds from the Road Safety Trust. The programme, called TravelWise to School, will develop travel plans for schools aimed at reducing education travel by car.

It is estimated that 40 per cent of vehicles on the road during the weekday morning and mid-afternoon peaks are carrying students to and from educational institutions, and organisers aim to cut that percentage by 10 per cent.

It examines the barriers to people changing their travel choice, and tries to provide alternatives, thereby reducing congestion and improving safety.

The TravelWise programme looks into the school's location, its catchment and the available transport options. Its specially trained facilitators then analyse these patterns, and can usually suggest better ways to manage travel that will benefit the students, parents, the school and the community.

Facilitators work with all parties to develop methods to make each day's journey more convenient, quicker, safer, healthier and cheaper - and to provide the tools to make the schemes work. Such options range from a Walking School Bus for primary school children to car-pooling and buses for senior students.

Education traffic is on the road for a relatively short time, but it adds significantly to congestion locally, increases pollution and pushes up the cost of roading as well. It has increased significantly over recent years because fewer children bus, walk or cycle to school, and instead up to 80 per cent of children are driven by their parents in a family car.

North Shore City has already introduced the TravelWise programme to three primary schools - Vauxhall, Bayswater and Browns Bay, and these are being used as a model to extend the programme to include up to 25 more North Shore City primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions over the next 12 months.

The council has approved the enhanced plan, and works and environment committee chairperson Joel Cayford says North Shore City is a strong supporter of the programme.

"We're taking an active role in providing solutions for the Auckland region's traffic congestion problems, and already other organisations in the region have learned of our plans and are keen to adopt similar schemes," Councillor Cayford says.

"TravelWise is regarded as a brand and a concept that can be easily understood and acted on to help reduce traffic congestion, pollution and some of the cost of travelling to and from educational institutions," he says.

Funding comes from the Road Safety Trust, which is awaiting with interest the results of the twelve-month TravelWise programme. Applications have also been made to Infrastructure Auckland for funds to develop infrastructure that will support the congestion-reducing components of this programme.

North Shore City's scheme has been developed from overseas models, but has now been significantly advanced and refined, says North Shore City's traffic services manager, Tom Morton.

Other authorities in the Auckland region have been impressed with the work already done by North Shore City to introduce the TravelWise programme, which could be introduced regionally.

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