Safe Ways To School

Road safety is a major reason why kiwi kids don't walk or cycle to school

Communities can help us reverse the decline


Safe Ways To School Pilot - Cambridge Primary 2017

"We believe all children should have safe, healthy and environmentally friendly alternatives to get to and from school, and that the school community can be powerful partners in co-designing this".

Statistics show a decline in children walking and cycling to school, while at the same time child obesity rates and school traffic congestion is on the rise.

Safe Ways to School began in 2017 as a community led initiative to investigate the decline. Parents are key to getting more kids on bikes, so we asked parents to tell us what could be done to reverse these trends. Safe Ways to School uses a survey and interactive online map to understand the challenges faced by parents and children. It overlays actual NZTA injury data for active transport with student's surveyed experience of accidents and near misses. The work results in community insight that can help prioritise 'hot spots' for likely accidents, whilst tackling the behavioural and physical barriers associated with active transport.

To date our work has consistently shown most parents use the car, but most parents also want their children to walk or ride. By supporting parents we can help facilitate behaviour change for kiwi kids. Safe Ways to School provides schools with tangible actions and tools to help make active transport a more convenient choice for parents, while providing local councils with map based community insight to target infrastructure improvements, making active transport safer. 

Our projects consistently have high engagement with parents, gathering 1000s of positive and constructive comments that once analysed provide valuable community insight. Safe Ways to School works to provide parents and children (our most vulnerable of road users) a collective voice that may not otherwise be heard through traditional consultation methods to design a School Commuter Network that works for the schools, towns and cities of New Zealand.

Together we can help make active transport more convenient for parents and safer for children, reversing the decline by encouraging more children to walk and cycle more often.

So far our Safe Ways to School work has resulted in: 

  • a future School Commuter Network for Cambridge schools representing 2400 students
  • supporting the Hamilton Hukanui Schools Link project representing 9500 students
  • priority 'hot spots' for student accidents and near-misses with actual NZTA injury data
  • Park n Walk maps to encourage active transport and less congestion around school gates
  • a list of parent Ride Leaders and meeting spots for Walking School Buses and Cycling Trains
  • a Bikes in Schools track Cycling NZ bike education for Cambridge Primary students.

Follow The Links Below To Learn More About Our Approach

Safe Routes

School communities can help us co-design infrastructure that changes behaviour and reverses the decline of kids on bikes. We work with councils and school communities using an online interactive map, then analyse community insights to show council's where to invest in safety improvements.

Safe Travel Plans

We work with schools to help reduce congestion at school gates and promote active transport through a Safe Travel Plan. We provide tools to help schools communicate with parents, eg identifying Park n Walk options, Walking School Bus and Cycle Trains meeting points, parent Walk n Ride Leaders, Car Pooling and Bus Stops. 

Road Safety Education

Riding a bike and road safely is a life skill like swimming. We connect schools and parents with in-school education resources such as Bikes in Schools and Bike Ready. These initiatives give all children equal opportunity to learn bike handling and road safety skills preparing them to become future young drivers.

Safety Skills Practice

Parents really are the key to getting more kids on bikes. Parents and children tell us they want to walk and ride to school, but up to 88% use the car instead, resulting in a decline of kiwi kids using active transport options. We connect schools and parents with the support they need to reinforce the daily practice of children's bike handling and road safety skills outside the classroom. To learn more, click HERE.