West Sussex County Council sees promising results from trial run of traffic control scheme outside three schools

West Sussex County Council has seen some promising results from the trial run of a traffic control scheme outside three schools.
Thomas A Becket Junior School. Image: GoogleMapsThomas A Becket Junior School. Image: GoogleMaps
Thomas A Becket Junior School. Image: GoogleMaps

The six-month School Streets trial saw signage set up to prohibit vehicles from entering the roads directly outside the schools at drop-off and pick-up times.

As part of the government’s Active Travel Fund initiative, the idea was to increase the confidence of parents and children to walk, cycle, skate and scoot to school.

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The scheme started in September at Swiss Gardens Primary School, in Shoreham, Thomas A Becket Infant School, in Worthing, and Arundel CE Primary.

Arundel CE Primary School. Image: GoogleMapsArundel CE Primary School. Image: GoogleMaps
Arundel CE Primary School. Image: GoogleMaps

During a scrutiny committee meeting members were presented with figures which showed a drop in the number of cars which had travelled to the schools and an increase in the number of children arriving on foot, by bike or by scooter.

Joy Dennis, cabinet member for highways & transport, will be the one who decides whether or not to make the scheme permanent once the trial run ends on March 31.

She said the trial was ‘part of a basket of schemes to promote active travel’, adding: “It is one of those that can be utilised to encourage our youngsters to walk or wheel, which obviously is pretty key given some of the public health stats that we’re currently seeing with children, even in West Sussex.”

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At Thomas A Becket, an average of 89 cars per day chose to disregard the restrictions in the mornings, compared to 155 before the trial began.

Swiss Gardens School. Image: GoogleMapsSwiss Gardens School. Image: GoogleMaps
Swiss Gardens School. Image: GoogleMaps

At pick-up time, the figure was 75 cars, compared to the previous 109.

Some 265 children arrived on foot or wheels in the morning and 220 left that way at home time, compared to 200 and 183 respectively before the trial began.

At Swiss Gardens, the data showed 73 vehicles at the school in the mornings (139 pre-trial) and 100 at home-time (170 pre-trial).

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When it came to walking or wheeling, there were an average of 203 children in the mornings (180 pre-trial) and 185 at home-time (184 pre-trial).

No pre-trial data was available for Arundel but an average of 84 children arrived at school on foot in the mornings and 50 left on foot in the evenings.

The pre-trial figures were 50 and 42 respectively.

Mrs Dennis recognised that the scheme was not suitable for all schools, especially those situated on main roads.

But she said that 13 more schools had expressed an interest in the scheme, adding: “I’m really pleased that it seems to be going as well as it is and look forward to other schools participating in the scheme going forward.”

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Questions were asked about how many of the now active children were just being dropped off round the corner from the school.

Project manager Matthew Streeter said parents would be asked to complete a survey explaining what their children had been doing.

A full report will be drafted in April.