A scheme to improve road safety and ease congestion issues outside schools is being launched by Swindon Borough Council.
The School Safe Environment Zones (SSEZ) scheme will run over the next five years.
At the beginning of each of the five years, a list of schools will be identified. An annual budget of £100,000, funded by the Council, will then support the introduction of a range of engineering, educational and behavioural measures to improve road safety outside and on the approach to each of the identified schools.
Engineering and educational measures could include road signs, road markings, speed limit changes, flashing lights, waiting restrictions and cycling facilities.
A package of measures designed to encourage behavioural change in parents and pupils at these schools, as well as staff, local residents and other drivers, could include five-minute walk zones, Park ‘n’ Stride, anti-idling and air quality toolkits and pupil sign design competitions.
The design of each SSEZ will be bespoke to the circumstances, characteristics and location of each school as well as the current behaviours of pupils and parents or carers.
Earlier this year, an assessment was completed across all schools in Swindon to accurately determine the improvements needed and to prioritise schools requiring the most support.
Assessment factors included the school type (primary, secondary), the type and condition of its approach road and the availability of cycle routes and footpaths. Other factors included the number of pupils at the school, concerns raised by parents, residents, councillors and schools themselves, as well as data in relation to road traffic collisions involving children on their way to or from school.
The speed limit of the road, as well as the presence of any pedestrian crossing facilities, along with any existing ‘School Safety Zone’ features, were also considered.
From this assessment, 15 schools were selected for inclusion in this year’s programme (2020-2021). These include:
- East Wichel Primary School
- Holy Rood Junior School
- Lainesmead Primary School
- King William Street CE Primary School
- Lawn Manor Academy
- Holy Rood Infant School
- Beechcroft Infant School
- Orchid Vale Primary School
- Croft Primary School
- The Commonweal School
- St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School
- Tregoze Primary School
- Holy Family RC Primary School
- Hazelwood Academy
- Nythe Primary School
At the end of each year, the remaining schools will be assessed and reviewed to identify the next schools, which will benefit from the scheme. The number of schemes delivered is likely to vary each year, depending on the scale of each safety zone.
Councillor Maureen Penny, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Maintenance and Waste Services, said: “For children of any age, the roads around schools present a potential danger, especially during busy times of the day.
“As a council, our aim is to support schools in their efforts to mitigate these dangers.
“This scheme will implement physical measures at schools across Swindon that will help to protect pupils from the dangers of the road and will provide valuable knowledge to pupils to help keep themselves as safe as possible.”
Work is due to start at the first school, Tregoze Primary School, later this year.