Sustainable modes of travel strategy (SMOTS)

Travel to schools within Cheshire East is an essential aspect of daily life. The Council is working to promote more physical activity, improve our environment and create safer and more vibrant communities. This approach is underpinned by the council’s corporate objectives and our commitment to improve quality of place.

National research shows that developing more sustainable alternatives to the use of the single occupancy car for home to school transport provides benefits to the environment and to children’s  and young people’s well-being, including improved fitness, road safety skills and an increased sense of independence.

You can read more about school travel planning and the various initiatives that schools can use to promote sustainable school travel, including information about walking buses, park and stride, and other options.

The Department for Education guidance for local authorities on their home to school travel duties and the purpose of a Sustainable Modes of Travel to Schools strategy.

Local authorities are under a statutory duty under the Education Act 1996 to promote the use of sustainable travel and transport to and from institutions where education or training is delivered. The duty applies to children and young people of compulsory school age (5-16) who travel to receive education or training in the Local Authority’s area.

Preparing a new sustainable modes of travel strategy

The SMOTS Strategy is one of a suite of education, travel and transport policies and strategies being developed or already adopted by the Council to help meet our corporate objectives. There are significant links between them.

We have assessed home to school travel and transport needs. We undertook surveys to look at how children travel to school. We reviewed a sample of school travel plans prepared by Cheshire East schools. This review identified a number of opportunities to further increase the number of children using sustainable modes to travel to school. The SMOTS Strategy sets out the Council’s approach to how the proposed measures can be implemented.

The following diagram sets out how we will implement the SMOTS strategy to achieve Council priorities.

SMOTS  Process

Before adopting the SMOTS Strategy, the Council asked for comments and feedback to find out if Cheshire East schools and residents and the Council’s delivery partners agreed with the document’s aims and objectives. More than half of respondents agreed that the Strategy was:

  • good (61% respondents);            
  • clear (62% respondents);        
  • comprehensive (59% respondents); and            
  • ambitious (52% respondents)

There was less confidence that the proposed approach is deliverable (43% respondents).  Nevertheless, there was strong support for provision of the new Modeshift STARS online system (69% respondents) and for a continuation of current measures promoting sustainable travel choices (66% respondents).

The SMOTS  Strategy was updated to reflect the feedback received and was approved for adoption by Cabinet in July 2018.

A summary report of the consultation responses can be found on our consultations results page.