School Travel Health Check (STHC) Service

School Travel Health Check (STHC) Service

School Travel Health Check (STHC) Service

Since 2005 the School Travel Health Check Analysis Service has been providing high quality, spatial intelligence data to local authorities, school communities and other stakeholders interested in how children travel to school, from where, and how far they travel to get there.

The School Travel Health Check (STHC) is an example of a Geographic Information consultancy project for one local authority in 2004 that soon “grew arms and legs” to become a ground-breaking, nationally available service, still going 13 yearsa later.

In providing high quality, spatial intelligence data to local authorities, school communities and other stakeholders interested in how children travel to school, from where, and how far they travel to get there, it incorporates all aspects of the geographic information process.

The STHC quantifies and visualises the actual school travel situation and associated factors “on the ground” – from whole-authority down to individual school level. Stakeholders can then act on this information accordingly to effect behaviour-changing modeshift to more active and sustainable modes of travel on the “school run”.

The STHC uses Geographic Information System (GIS) and other standard office software tools to undertake spatial analysis of local authority pupil-level and school-level School Census data, and Pupil Usual Mode of Travel data (if available).

Analysis results are then made available to all stakeholders as a suite of digital resources on an online, publicly accessible, interactive, map-enabled data portal. This is supplemented by a suite of supporting digital files (such as GIS files), supplied directly to the local authority client.

Digital output is further supported by STHC paper map packs sent to all schools, containing a bespoke analysis report, large format (A1 sized), maps centred on the school and a key results table of all schools in the authority.

By undertaking the ‘donkey work’ of spatial analysis of their data and serving the results back to them as a complete, publicly acessible package, the STHC frees up stakeholders time to do the important work of actually delivering the change required…

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Watch the brief overview video of our ground-breaking School Travel Health Check (STHC) Spatial Analysis Service.

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STHC Clients, Testimonials & Citations

From the UK Chief Medical Officer to Local Authority School Travel Advisors & their Regional Co-ordinators, and individual school Headmasters & School Travel Plan Leads, our School Travel Health spatial analysis service provides all stakeholders with the essential knowledge foundations to “think global and act local” and move forward with their sustainable / active travel agendas. By undertaking the ‘donkey work’ of spatial analysis of their data and serving the results back to them as a complete package publicly acessible to all, the STHC frees up their time to do the important work of actually delivering the change required…

Even in this technological age we have found that this is best done as a mix of paper and digital resources. Thus school-centred maps and a table of key analysis results for all schools, printed on big bits of paper, delivered back to the school as part of a STHC School Pack, continue to be a key part of the STHC analysis output, even though all the data can also be found on the online data portal.

The STHC School Pack contains 2 site-centred A1 sized pupil travel maps, an A1+ length results table spreadsheet and an 8 page school-specific report. With potentially 500+ schools in an authority (550 is the biggest one we have handled to date), that’s a lot of paper to print off and compile into School Packs in a short space of time, so we have had to make the process as automated as possible!

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UK Government Chief Medical Officer 2009 Annual Report

The STHC is cited as the example of best practice for public health in the South West Region in the 2009 Annual Report of the UK Government Chief Medical Officer (see “Increasing active travel by schoolchildren” – p73).

“This innovative sustainable development initiative aims to provide robust data that will allow schools, planners and individuals to develop more sustainable school travel options.”

“Active travel to school is an important source of physical activity for young people. It could be increased further. These statistics provide a useful baseline against which to measure progress, and should be used in conjunction with a qualitative assessment of local authority and school travel policies.”

Other Citations

Towards A School Carbon Management Plan

Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) and the UK Department For Children, Schools & Families (DCSF) (June 2009)

Promoting Active Travel to School: Progress and Potential

Modeshift / Department of Health / NHS South West (Nov 2010)

Making Sustainable Local Transport Happen

UK Department for Transport (Jan 2011)

Soft Measures – Hard Facts: The Value For Money Of Transport Measures Which Change Travel Behaviour

UK Department of Health / UK Highways Agency / NHS South West / Travelwise / South West Regional Development Agency (Jan 2011)

STHC In Numbers

Since the School Travel Health Check spatial analysis service began in 2004/05 ….

STHC Clients

UK Local Authorities

Data Processed

m
Individual Pupil Data Records

from

Separate UK Schools

which is

~ %
Of All LA Schools In England

STHC School Packs

STHC School Packs produced
School-centred maps @A1
m2 of paper
pages of A4

Average Annual Cost Per Pupil

-23p
For Standard STHC Analysis Package & STHC Packs To Every School

*Depending on school set up within an authority (our transparent pricing formula takes into account the number of schools and pupils).

STHC Dedicated Website

Comprehensive information about the STHC, including the spatial analysis process and pricing structure for commissioning authorities, can be found on the dedicated website. Browse it in the embedded frame below, or click the button to see it in a new browser window…

STHC Data Portal

All the STHC analysis results are published online on a customer-specific, publicly accessible, interactive, map-enabled, fully responsive data portal. Built using the free & open source Bootstrap responsive website developers toolkit, it utilises free external web-services such as Google Maps and Google Charts , which greatly enhance visualisation of the data at no extra cost to users. Its “thumb friendly” fluid design means it is viewable in any HTML5 compatible browser, including mobile devices.

The portal is arranged into pages contained within different modules, themed by the specific purpose and nature of the analysis (though there may be some overlap between them in terms of the data reported). Additional modules may be added over time, but currently these are –

Distance & Mode Analysis ModuleAccident (STATS 19) Analysis Module – Proximity & Choice Analysis Module (Beta)

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Browse the dedicated STHC Data Portal Demonstration website in the embedded frame below, or click the button to see it in a new window…

STHC School Packs

Yes, there's still a place for big paper maps...

We have always encouraged client authorities to put the STHC analysis results back into all their schools (whether or not they collect pupil usual mode of travel data or have a formal school travel plan). After all, this is where the source data comes from in the first place, and this is where we are trying to effect change on the ground (even if they themselves haven’t yet expressed an interest in changing!).

Even in this technological age we have found that this is best done as a mix of paper and digital resources. Thus school-centred maps and a table of key analysis results for all schools, printed on big bits of paper, delivered back to the school as part of a STHC School Pack, continue to be a key part of the STHC analysis output, even though all the data can also be found on the online data portal.

The STHC School Pack contains 2 site-centred A1 sized pupil travel maps, an A1+ length results table spreadsheet and an 8 page school-specific report. With potentially 500+ schools in an authority (550 is the biggest one we have handled to date), that’s a lot of paper to print off and compile into School Packs in a short space of time, so we have had to make the process as automated as possible!

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Bespoke School Report & Covering Letter

The STHC Standard School Report condenses the most important stats headlines, charts and explanarory text from the Pupil Travel Distance & Mode Analysis module into 8 sides of A4 paper when printed.

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A1 Pupil Travel Maps Centred On School

The primary purpose of Pupil Travel Maps is to clearly show where all the pupils that attend the school are travelling from and how. The Standard STHC Pack has 2 maps with different backgrounds – aerial imagery or the appropriate street-level scale of Ordnance Survey topographic map.

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A1+ Key Analysis Results Table For All Schools

The primary purpose of the Key Analaysis Results Table is to enable stakeholders to easily compare and contrast the STHC analysis results from all the different standard reporting levels for the authority on a single, printed page (allbeit a large one!).

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Featured STHC

Spatial Analysis Insights Provided By The STHC

The School Travel Health Check service shows how knowledge that can only be derived through spatial analysis, brings practical insight to all stakeholders that are interested in how pupils travel to school, from where and by what means. It enables them to better target their limited, behaviour-changing resources to schools where modeshift is more likely to be achieved ie. those where the most pupils that live within a reasonable walking distance of the school still travel by car.

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Short Term 'Quick Wins' - "the number of pupils living within walk threshold travelling by car

A classic “quick win” for clients upon first receiving the STHC analysis data is to re-order the individual school results by “the number of pupils living within walk threshold travelling by car”. This will give them a target list in descending order of the schools with the biggest potential for modeshift, which can then form the basis of their day-to-day activities for the next few weeks.

Care must be taken here however. Although it is maybe more intuitive to look at the percentages to rank potential target schools, the measure of success for modal shift is the actual number of journeys where the mode of travel can be changed. Think missionary work and the “saving of souls”!

As you can see from the example screenshots opposite from an actual STHC client authority, if we only went by percentages there are only 80 potential modal shift targets spread over the top 10 “offending” schools, compared to 477 if we play the numbers game. A 10% modal shift in these schools would actually result in a lot more CO2 saved!

Longer Term Evidence Base

In the long term, if you repeat the exact same spatial analysis at regular intervals, you can establish patterns & trends in the data that  show how the situation is changing on the ground.

For example the chart shows that, since the STHC began in Dorset in 2007-08, there has been a measurable (~25%) reduction in the number of pupils living within a reasonable walking distance of their school and travelling by car.

This could only ever be deiscerned by using spatial analysis.

Advanced Analysis - Proximity & Pupil Choice

The Proximity & Pupil Choice Analysis module quantifies the proximity of schools to pupils, pupils to schools, and schools to each other. From this are derived pupil choice by distance ranking, “doorstep leakage” of pupils to schools that are not the nearest one (& the extra “child miles” this involves) and the numerical and geodemographic impact on roles if all pupils attended their nearest school.

An immediate applications of this analysis is in quantifying the “leakage” of potential pupils away from a schools own doorstep, which represents a loss of revenue for them. If PUMoT data is available then there is the obvious opportunity of SMART targeting for modeshift (“in this schools walk threshold X number of kids are driving Y number of miles to various other schools, which is Z “child miles” more than if they walked to this school on their own doorstep”). Lack of PUMoT data makes the results less rich, but does not prevent the analysis from being undertaken.

Creation of this Proximity & Pupil Choice Analysis module does not require Pupil Usual Mode of Travel data as the pupil location is part of core National School Census data. However if travel mode data is available for the selected school, there is also the ability to use it to further filter the pupils.

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Mixing It Up - Road Traffic Accident (STATS 19) Data Analysis

The Road Traffic Accident (STATS 19) Data Analysis module quantifies the officially reported road traffic accidents within 4.8 km of schools. Accidents all involve casualties and have been recorded via the official police STATS19 accident reporting system, with nationally available data going back to 2005. As well as the ability to see all the accidents around a school on a an interactive map, users can also compare accident analysis results between all schools side by side on an interactive table.

Although there is no direct link between an accident and a specific school recorded in the STATS19 dataset, there are some data fields that, taken together, provide evidence that the accident is at least of relevance to school travel:-

  • child involvement via the age of a casualty (which may be a driver of a vehicle, a passenger or a pedestrian).
  • time of day and day of the week at which the accident occurred (eg. did it occur during usual school travel times?).
  • purpose of the vehicles journey (commuting to/from work, for work, taking pupil to/from school or Other/Not known).
  • location of accident and therefore its distance from a given school (as measured by our spatial analysis).
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