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Benefits Of The School Travel Health Check

First and foremost the STHC represents outstanding return on a very modest investment as exactly the same standard suite of STHC digital data files can be used:-

  • by all the many different stakeholders with an interest in how children travel to school and how far they have to travel to get there - professionals, pupils, their parents & carers.
  • at a strategic level as an evidence base to inform future planning of services & infrastructure. Also by raising the profile of the work internally and externally with colleagues, managers and other stakeholders, potential joint working and funding opportunities may be identified.
  • at an operational level to inform day-to-day targeting, prioritising & scheduling of professional resources, as well as providing those professionals with a tangible means of simultaneously engaging with all schools in their LEA in a consistent and regular way that is both meaningful and constructive.
  • as a starting point for further analysis at the local level (as the 'donkey work' has been done by us in creating the sliced and diced GIS coverages as part of the standard output).

This is because by carrying out the analysis in exactly the same way for every pupil, in every school, in every client authority and adding in the spatial dimension, the STHC makes it possible to:-

  • compare "apples with apples", whether these "apples" be age ranges, socio-demographics attributes, or the geographic location of both the schools and the pupils that may (or may not!) attend them.
  • easily visualise & quantify the school travel situation so that everybody can still get their own perspective on the situation but still all be "singing from the same hymn sheet".
  • have an informed debate around the issues of sustainable travel based on quantitative analysis of the real world data rather than speculative presumption fed by "tabloid thinking".

The main purpose of all this analysis however is not just to be clever for the sake of it, but to provide local authorities and school communities with quantitative, spatial intelligence data that will allow them to actually do something about making the situation better ("think global, act local"). The STHC analysis output gives them the ability to assess:-

  • The overall scale of the “school run” problem when compared with other LEAs or schools.
  • Where quick wins can be made in the short term (eg. running awareness campaigns in schools with the most number of pupils coming by car from within the walk threshold to highlight the merits of walking or cycling).
  • Where pupils from a further distance could most easily be persuaded to walk or cycle in the medium term, perhaps once physical infrastructure has been put in place (eg. a footbridge bridge over a railway line or other barrier may suddenly make cycling / walking a viable option for pupils in a particular location that otherwise have to go by car due to the current journey distance / time)
  • How well schools are currently situated to serve the current distribution of pupils, and where strategic changes could be made to reduce the overall total “pupil miles” travelled in the LEA over the longer term.

By monitoring how much these variables change over time stakeholders will be able to set SMART (Sustainable, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound) targets to work towards in the short, medium and long term, and then quantifiably assess how well their initiatives are working. The same STHC monitoring data will also provide an evidence base to assist stakeholders in securing funding for carrying on successful school travel initiatives into the future.

The list of applications of the STHC analysis data continues to grow the more existing clients use it and the word spreads through the rest of their authority.

Click here to see an example of short, medium and long term operational target setting using the STHC Analysis Data.