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Willoughby City Council has asked students to identify safe walking and cycling routes to decrease school traffic. The results will be used by the school community as part of the ‘Resilient Willoughby Schools Active Travel Project’.

A pilot program encouraging students and their families to walk, cycle or scooter to school was launched recently at Willoughby Public School. The collaborative project, which involves curriculum based learning aims to reduce school traffic congestion at peak times.

Students identified that, although 87% of families live 1.5km or closer to the school, 55% still choose to drive to school, generating traffic congestion and pedestrian safety issues impacting students and residents.

Willoughby City Mayor Tanya Taylor says that the innovative project is a vital part of Council’s commitment to working with the community to reduce car dependency and provide safer roads, cycleway and footpaths around schools.

“The pilot program has proven a huge success with positive feedback from teachers, students and parents all eager to get on board.”

Students and their families are being encouraged to leave the car at home and walk, cycle or scooter to school more often, and students will be monitoring school travel patterns to evaluate the impact of their active travel project.

“Willoughby City Council and the school have set a target to increase active travel rates by 10% to 15% which will take 100-200 cars off the streets around school at peak times,” says Mayor Taylor.

“By encouraging students and their families to walk and cycle more to school, the students can help reduce emissions and risk to pedestrians around their school. It’s a great example of the students being able to think globally and act local.

“The Willoughby Public School community has embraced the initiative to date and we hope to make a lasting impact encouraging everyone to walk or ride where possible.”

Willoughby City Council has partnered with Willoughby Public School, Bicycle Network, Observatory Hill Environmental Education Centre and School Infrastructure NSW to deliver the pilot project.