School children and family transport changes to reduce carbon emissions


What is changing

Getting to school

Walking and cycling

Walking or cycling to school instead of travelling by car, is better for your child's health and wellbeing, local air quality and for the environment.

Building on our Sustainable Schools Travel Strategy, we will continue to encourage you to leave your cars at home for short journeys and find alternative, greener ways to get your child or children to school.

To reach the target of zero emissions by 2050, we all need to reduce unnecessary, short trips in petrol and diesel cars as these are amongst the highest polluting journeys and the least fuel efficient per kilometre mile. They also cause congestion and pollution outside schools, areas that we need to keep clear for the safety and health of school children.

We will be improving walking and cycling routes to schools and town centres and we will make them safer, more pleasant and more accessible. As less people use their cars, traffic levels will decrease, improving air quality and making the journey to school healthier and more enjoyable.

School transport

In the future, we aim to coordinate bus services with school transport to minimise the duplication of transport services and to maximise journey opportunities.

Modeshift STARS online portal for schools

As part of our work with schools, we will also continue to roll out school travel plans using the national Modeshift STARS online portal and will promote and market these services to schools throughout Surrey.

Road safety

We are waiting for the government to give us powers to enforce more controls in roads around schools, these will include establishing 'school streets' that will close roads around school entrances to traffic at certain times of the day, to make them pedestrian and cycle friendly zones during drop off and pick up times. We will also be reducing parking and, or increasing charges, to limit traffic and prioritise the safety of our school children. Short stay parking bays will still be available for Blue Badge holders or families with children who have limited mobility.

We will improve road safety for children by closely following 'Vision Zero' which is a global road traffic safety project that aims to end traffic-related fatalities or serious injuries. We are building our new Road Safety Strategy on that vision. The strategy will work with the Sustainable Schools Travel Strategy to improve road safety for school children.

Cycle training

We will also support cycle training schemes such as Bikeability for all age groups to improve safety and awareness.

Cycle hire schemes

We will be supporting the development of cycle and e-bike hire and, potentially, e-scooter hire (depending on the outcome of national e-scooter safety trials). If possible, the hire schemes will be integrated with other modes of transport through a transport mobile application called Mobility as a Service (MaaS) to help plan and pay for journeys. For examples, hired e-bikes could provide the means to cross a built up area on a one-way trip, or they could be used on the first and, or last leg of a journey that includes public transport. For example, a hired e-bike could take someone to a bus stop, the bus would take them to a bus stop nearest to their destination and an e-bike could take them the rest of the way, completing a door to door journey.

The option to hire bikes or scooters, instead of owning them, means more people will have the opportunity to cycle, e-bike or scoot, without having to find the money to buy one or without having to pay the additional costs of maintenance and storage.

Help with travel costs in the future

If you are concerned that travel will become too expensive, here are some of the options and proposed initiatives that will help you keep moving in the future:

Car clubs

Car clubs will play a key role in the transformation of travel in Surrey. They will provide access to cars for journeys where public transport or cycling would not be suitable, helping to reduce the need to own a car. They also help to reduce car use because users pay on a per journey basis, as they do for public transport, and so travellers can choose which travel options to use based on an equivalent journey cost. They have the additional benefit of drivers being able to select the best suited size car for their trip, so if there's only one or two people travelling with no luggage or any storage space needed in the vehicle, a smaller car can be chosen which will reduce the cost of the journey. However, for a family trip away, a larger car would be more suitable. Find out more about car clubs in Surrey.


We plan to introduce emissions-based parking charges and these could include:

  • Local shopping charges – possibly combined with an allowance of a limited number of weekly free visits to encourage you to continue to use local facilities, and also to combine your activities into fewer car trips.
  • Residential parking – increased charges for spaces, particularly second spaces. However, we will make sure that this does not unfairly affect lower income households, as it is likely to focus on housing without off street parking. When we introduce this measure, it will be in conjunction with an increase in the availability of car club vehicles and other travel options that will make it easier to decide not to own a car.

Read more in the Demand management for cars policy area.

About 'moving traffic offences'

We are waiting for the government to grant us enforcement powers under the Traffic Management Act 2004, Part 6 that will cover parking, red routes, bus lanes, and 'moving traffic' offences. These are offences that include driving or parking in bus lanes, stopping on a yellow box junction, prohibited turns. We would like to use these powers to trial 'school streets', making your walking or cycling journey to school safer, healthier and more pleasant.

When will the changes happen

What we are doing now

2022 to 2030

We will start to enforce traffic controls outside schools during this time and we will keep parents informed of the transport alternatives available for their child.

2030 to 2050

We will continue to introduce measures to reduce traffic and the use of petrol and diesel cars, whilst also transforming routes to school to ensure that they are safe and healthy for children to use for cycling, walking and scooting. School transport will be improved to ensure the whole journey, from door to door, is as efficient as it can be.

Measuring success

We will use the school census to find out whether more children are getting to school and returning home using greener options instead of being dropped off and picked up by car.

Changes you can make

Find out about:

Ideas to help you go green and leave your car at home:

  • use local shops and facilities;
  • for shorter journeys, walk or cycle;
  • when using a car, try combining a number of trips together;
  • walking and cycling children to school, especially if you are working at home more often;
  • encourage your child to walk or cycle to after school activities
  • use public transport for longer trips:
  • begin to plan for switching to an electric vehicle or consider using a car club for essential car trips.

Related links

Policy areas

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