School run accounts for nearly 30% of morning traffic in London

Data shows that up to 43% of car trips in some parts of London are linked to the school drop off, as a Europe-wide campaign to urge city leaders to create new school streets launches in the city.

YouGov polling commissioned by Clean Cities Campaign shows parents of children 18 and under are three times as likely to find the school run stressful as meeting their line manager at work.

When asked about the school run, the majority of parents would prefer to walk or cycle with their children to school, with 59% saying that walking or cycling is the best way to spend quality time with their children, while only 11% said driving is a way to spend quality time with their children.

However, across London over a quarter (27%) of peak car driver trips in the morning are for school drop-off, while up to 43% of rush-hour car trips in some parts of London are linked to the school drop-off, according to data from Transport for London.

person holding child walking on pathway

The Europe-wide #StreetsforKids campaign will see 170 events in 40 cities and 10 countries from Slovakia to Spain, with the aim of encouraging local authorities to temporarily close the road space outside schools to traffic.

There are around 500 school streets in London, and a recent study by the Greater London Authority showed they can reduce nitrogen dioxide from diesel cars by up to 23%, while substantially reducing traffic.

Two thirds (66%) of parents and carers at schools without school street measures support their implementation, according to research by Transport for London.

Oliver Lord, UK Head of Clean Cities Campaign, said: ‘We’re calling on city leaders across Europe to commit to reducing traffic outside schools. Temporary road closures during pick-up and drop-off – known as school streets – are one of the best ways to reduce children’s exposure to air pollution and road danger, as well as helping them walk, scoot and cycle to school. Fewer cars around schools in the morning also means more reliable bus journeys and more space for businesses that need to use the roads.’

Grassroots group Mums for Lungs, which is part of the coalition is calling for a school street at every school by 2025, with an alternative package of support where this is not feasible.

Jemima Hartshorn, Founder of Mums for Lungs, commented: ‘All the evidence clearly shows that school streets reduce children’s exposure to air pollution and indeed, encourages parents to travel to school without a car. We have been campaigning for them for years and this data further spurs our enthusiasm to do more of that. But we also need to see more action – like green screens and controlled parking to clean up the air at schools where School Streets are unsuitable.’

In related news, Noel Frost, head of global enforcement at Siemens Mobility Limited explains how and why School Streets should be rolled out across the UK.

Photo by Krzysztof Kowalik


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2 years ago

This proposal could greatly and effectively reduce children’s exposure to air pollution and road hazards while at the same time increasing the quality of the time they spend with their parents.
We are in a very problematic age from the point of view of climate change and exposure to pollution, so we have to find new ways to put children in situations where they can find a good environment and can breathe clean air.
For all these reasons, road closures around school areas could be a very impactful idea and could bring good results even if implemented only at peak traffic times, such as: rediscovering walking and cycling, reducing traffic and, of course, reducing air pollution.

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