North Tyneside Council has a Sustainable Transport team with responsibility for encouraging behaviour change in everyday travel to schools, businesses and residential areas. Activity includes promoting and providing realistic sustainable travel opportunities for all.
Focus is on improvements to physical and mental health inherent in active travel, as well as the environmental benefits of sustainable travel.
Activity is specifically designed to enhance data capture that feeds into future developments and monitoring.
The team aims to reduce single-occupancy car use and the Go Smarter project concentrates on keeping cars away from the school gates.
GoSmarter aims to help create low traffic neighbourhoods around schools that will mean healthier lives for both pupils and residents. The programme was launched in the schools with the most driven journeys. As well as aiming to change pupil, parent and staff behaviour, it can involve physical changes to streets near schools to encourage more sustainable travel.
The GoSmarter project’s work with schools takes the following format:
- Schools are identified with particular congestion problems. Site traffic surveys are conducted. Schools collect postcode and baseline travel mode data for every pupil.
- Travel data is analysed. Street Audits are conducted with pupils to identify traffic calming and walking & cycling improvement schemes; then schemes are then designed.
- Pupil Travel Ambassadors and staff Travel Champions are enrolled. Whole-school assemblies present the data, problems and solutions including the scheme proposal. Schools plan tailored parental behaviour change campaigns.
- Schools launch campaign actions such as ‘Car Free Day’ events and education around air quality and independent travel. Children see their scheme being built and help monitor all the changes they have brought about with follow-up surveys.
Having launched in September 2017, GoSmarter has been a great success in terms of engaging with the majority of schools, gaining more data than ever before, evolving some best practice in sustainable travel street design measures and behaviour change campaigns, and seeing early signs of real modal shift happening as a result of these combined initiatives.