SCHOOLS across Brisbane are being urged to apply to be part of the Schrinner Council’s Active School Travel Program which helps to encourage families and students to take up active transport options.

Public and Active Transport Chair Councillor Ryan Murphy said while recruitment for the program was paused for a year due to COVID, he was hopeful the current lockdown would be short, and the program can remain on track to welcome new schools for 2022.

“Every single trip taken by walking or riding is one less car on the road, which helps reduce traffic congestion in our suburbs during school hours,” Cr Murphy said.

“The Active School Travel program is free for primary schools that want healthier, more active students and parents, and also delivers greater road safety awareness and reduces congestion.

“Our program has earned its place as an award-winning education initiative, with more than 121,000 students across 166 schools having participated in the program since 2004.

“Applying to be an Active Travel School is a competitive process, so we encourage any schools wanting to participate in 2022 to start the application process now, as just 11 spaces remain.”

Cr Murphy said Brisbane’s primary schools were leaders in the active travel space, with thousands of families leaving the car at home for the school drop off and pick up.

“In 2020, we recorded 40 per cent of our 18,000 participants actively travelled, with some schools reporting up to 70 per cent uptake and around 4500 more walking trips per week from first year schools,” he said.

“Even better, we recorded a 97 percent satisfaction rate among Active School Travel members and benefits that went beyond physical activity.

“We consistently receive stellar feedback from schools that participate, including 100 per cent of survey respondents saying the program helped to increase overall physical activity levels and they would recommend the program to other schools.

“Participating schools can access tailored support from an Active School Travel officer, free 60-minute bike and scooter skills training program, RACQ Streets Ahead road safety session, business orientation session for senior students and curriculum for teachers.”

“The Schrinner Council is also building upon the success of the Speed Awareness Monitors program and commenced the delivery of 100 permanent SAMs near Brisbane schools over the next four years, to help create safer environments for students to travel to school.

“There were 31 SAMs installed in 2020-21 and an additional 69 SAMs are scheduled for installation over the next three years.”

To apply to join Active School Travel in 2022, complete the online application form by Friday 17 September 2021.