5 Ways to Reduce Traffic Congestion around Schools
Ensuring students get the best quality education is one of the prime concerns for a school but it isn’t the only one. Traffic management around the school at pick-up and drop times is another major concern too. Traffic congestion around the school gates can cause administration issues, trouble with the neighbors and put the student’s safety at risk. If you’ve been wondering how to deal with this issue, here are a few tips.
1. Encourage Parents to use the School Bus System
The first step to this is obviously to have a school bus system in place. One school bus can transport as many children as 38 cars can carry! Once you’ve arranged for sufficient school buses, encourage parents to use the system for their children. One of the reasons parents hesitate about sending their children to school by bus is a worry for the children’s safety. Relieve them of these worries by employing licensed, trustworthy drivers for your buses and having at least one teacher aboard every bus. Installing GPS tracking systems on the buses can also help secure student safety and make parents feel at ease.
2. Stagger Timings
Most schools organize their administration into different set-ups for the primary wing, secondary wing, senior wing, etc. This categorization cannot only help the administration run smoother but can be extended to managing traffic congestion. By staggering the school timings for different wings, the number of students arriving and leaving at a particular time can be greatly reduced. Staggering the timing by even 15 minutes per section can be helpful.
3. Separate Access Points
Having the school buses, staff vehicles, students walking home and parents picking up or dropping their children use the same gates can be chaotic. Instead, you could consider having different access points for students using different modes of transportation. Arrange your staff parking away from the access point used by parents. Similarly, give your school buses a dedicated gate and students who walk or cycle to school a separate dedicated gate. Ideally, you should plan these access points such that the school buses do not cross the road in front of the pickup point for parents.
4. Co-ordinate with Traffic Authorities
You don’t have to do everyone alone to manage traffic around your school. Work with the traffic authorities to re-route traffic without inconveniencing anyone. One of the ways to do that would be to make the road in front of the parent pick-up and drop gate a one-way road. Getting speed breakers installed on these roads can also help regulate speed and reduce the risk of accidents occurring. You could also consider working with the authorities to increase fines for traffic violations that occur around the school. This includes speeding, double parking, parking in no-parking zones, etc.
5. Temporary Parking Zones
Some parents will insist on picking up and dropping their children no matter how good your bus system is. The trouble with this is that the urban landscape of more cities does not give schools access to sufficient permanent parking areas. As a result, these parents end up parking their cars haphazardly on the road and add to the traffic congestion.
To resolve this issue, approach the neighborhood councils and get their consent to use available spaces that are not under school administration for temporary parking during school hours. Once this has been arranged, work with the traffic authorities to ensure that parents use this temporary parking facility and do not park their cars on the roads.
While schools may not be solely responsible for traffic outside its premises, it falls upon them to take the initiative to establish an effective solution. There is no one way to deal with all traffic congestion issues. The best strategy is one that is tailored to the local community. Hence, when developing such a solution, it is important to work together with the parent community, neighbors, local councils and traffic authorities.
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