We believe our school streets should be safe for children to walk, cycle or scoot to school and where residents and businesses aren’t inconvenienced by high volumes of school-run traffic. Our School Streets project involves temporary road closure trials that remove high volumes of vehicle traffic and transform roads outside schools into enjoyable places for people to live, work, learn and play. Between June and November 2021, we've hosted a total of ten school road closure events involving 12 schools.
Our School Street project aims to: empower more families to walk, scoot and cycle to school; improve road safety by eliminating non-essential vehicle traffic; improve health and wellbeing through increased physical activity; reduce harmful vehicle emissions outside schools; raise awareness about the health problems linked to poor air quality and inactivity; improve the quality of life for local residents, pupils and parents; reduce the stress and tension everyone faces at drop-off and pick-up times; gauge public support for more school street events or permanent schemes in future.
School Street trials can use a temporary traffic regulation order to legally close a road. This can be as simple as contacting your local authority and completing a form. There may be teams within the authority that can offer advice but there are a number of things you will need to consider.
School streets are best suited to roads that only experience high volumes of traffic at school run times. Major roads, bus routes and long diversions are best avoided.
Schools that already promote active travel initiatives or who have staff and parents willing to cycle or walk more often are likely to benefit most.
Plan a date and the extent of your road closure 6-12 weeks beforehand. Avoid bin collection days.
Create a traffic management plan. Effective, legally compliant signage as well as well-located barriers and diversions can avoid traffic problems.
Complete a detailed risk assessment.
Traffic management companies can be contracted to plan and implement a closure, but it is possible to rely on volunteer marshals.
Contact all residents, businesses and organisations that may be affected by the closure. Explain why you are closing the road and why it is important. Their feedback may mean you need to review your plan but get them involved where possible.
Consider what alternative modes of travel are available and promote them. Are there a suitable “park and stride” locations, cycle routes or public transport options? Could you arrange a walking bus or bike train? Are there other initiatives or incentives available to support active travel?
Consider how you will use the road. Playing out sessions, drama performances, PE lessons or road safety workshops are simple options.
Consider how you will manage access for emergency services, local residents, blue badge holders and deliveries.
Promote the event and activities to all stakeholders.
Invite local dignitaries, councillors and press.
Ensure everyone understands the plan for the day (timetables, activities, marshals etc).
Take photos or videos, ensuring you have consent.
Carry out monitoring before, during and after the event to assess the impact you have had on the number of car journeys to school.
Gather as much feedback from as many stakeholders as possible. Did they support the event, would they support permanent traffic restrictions, what problems did they face and how can they be overcome?
Share your finding with others. Consider what went well and how things could be improved.
- Living Street’s Travel Tracker data monitors pupil travel modes before, during and after the School Streets event.
- Number of supporters for School Streets events and permanent traffic restrictions.
- Traffic volumes on busier roads outside of the restricted roads.