Recent policy developments within the U. K. government have taken aim at reducing the number of cars on the road, especially during peak hours. Specifically these new policies direct their focus on reducing what as known as the school run. It is estimated that at 8:50 am on a weekday, one in every five cars is on the school run (http://www. dft. gov. uk/stellent/groups/dft_localtrans/documents/page/dft_localtrans_024011. pdf).
It is believed that by reducing the number of cars on the road involved in the school run that congestion on roads will be reduced and as a side benefit obesity levels among children will decline because of increased physical activity gained through walking or cycling to school. However, there have been some criticisms to the government's policy Traveling to school: an action plan, especially from the RAC, in terms of the school run not having as big of an impact as believed.
Traveling to school: an action plan will be examined along with the criticisms that have been voiced by the RAC, this will lead to conclusions on whether or not it is believed that reducing the school run will have a positive impact and will conclude with recommendations on how to improve the plan. Traveling to school: an action plan , begins by pointing out the problems that have arisen by the increase of children being driven to school. The main concern of the action plan is the road congestion caused by what is called the school run.
The secondary concern of the action plan is to increase the numbers of children walking and cycling to school, to curb rising obesity rates among children. According to the action plan, the numbers of children being driven to school has doubled over the past 20 years. At the same time the number of children walking and cycling to school has decreased sharply, while the number of children taking the train or bus to school has remained relatively steady (http://www. dft. gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_localtrans/documents/page/dft_localtrans_024011. pdf).
One of the main increases in children who are being driven to school is a child who lives within walking distance of the school. Several concerns are held about the safety of children, in terms of safe walking routes to school and about proper cycle storage facilities at the school. There are also several concerns about the lack of adequate bus service in terms of scheduling, the cost of the bus and the safety of the bus for a child who may be a victim of bullying.
The main goal of the action plan is to therefore encourage a change in the home/school travel patterns. It is believed that this will not only cut congestion at peak hours in the morning and after school, but also cut pollution and reduce the levels of obesity in British school age children. The current obesity in Britain at the moment is approximately 15% of those aged 15 and 8. 5% of those aged 6 years old (http://www. dft. gov. uk/stellent/groups/dft_localtrans/documents/page/dft_localtrans_024011.pdf).
It is believed that increasing the number of children walking and biking to school will reduce this rate, while reducing congestion and pollution. It is also believed that staggered openings of schools would decrease the pressure of the school run on the congested roads. The action plan states that not only would staggered opening times reduce the number of cars involved in the school run at any one time, it would also allow a limited amount of buses to service different schools within the same area.
To achieve all the goals contained within the policy it is suggested that all schools, local authorities and transport companies work together to formulate a travel plan. These travel plans would include plans to facilitate safe cycle storage, to develop road safety skills through education and to promote positive behavior among children to prevent bullying. It is also believed that these goals can be accomplished through the inclusion of travel planning into the schools curriculum.