Frequently asked questions for schools already creating a travel plan

This page is for schools currently on Modeshift STARS that are already creating a school travel plan. The tabs below relate to the tabs in the platform when logged into Modeshift STARS. If you have any questions please contact schooltravelplans@surreycc.gov.uk.

Page contents:

Site tab

What is the site tab used for?

The site tab is the equivalent of your 'homepage' for your plan. Most of the information comprised within the site tab is pre-populated. However, it is good to check through all this information when you first review your travel plan to make sure all the school's contact fields are correct and up to date.

It's worth noting that the link to email out to staff and classroom teachers to complete your travel survey is in the site tab, under the survey link field. More detail regarding this is in the survey section of these frequently asked questions.


How do I add any item to my plan?

Go to the site tab (which is the equivalent of your 'homepage') and click on the cog's icon in the top right-hand toolbar.

Remember the phrase; the key is in the cogs when you're unsure of how to add anything to your plan.


When clicking on any of the tabs in my plan, how do I edit the information in that section?

Answer: Go to the toolbar in the top right-hand side of your screen and you will see a pencil icon. Click on the pencil icon to edit the information in the section you are in.


When I'm on any of the tabs in my plan, how do I open any of the rows to see more detail?

Answer: You can click into any row to open a part of your plan by clicking on the folded page icon.


After I've opened a row in my plan, how do I return to the main view of the plan, allowing me once again to see all the tabs?

When you've opened a row using the folded page icon, and click into a new window, you return to the main view of your plan by clicking on the stacked rectangle icon with upwards arrow.

Introduction tab

How do I edit the information in the introduction section?

Go to the toolbar in the top right-hand side of your screen and you will see a pencil icon. Click on the pencil icon to edit the information in the section you are in.


What fields need to be completed in the introduction section?

By clicking on the pencil in the top right-hand toolbar, you can see all the fields marked in a transparent colour which are editable. Please complete all mandatory editable fields with an asterisk.


What are the most important fields to complete in the introduction section?

All fields should be completed as the introduction builds a foundation for a travel plan. However, special care should be payed to making sure the following fields are completed:

  • Completing the 'Introduction to our site' field including where pupils and staff travel into school from.
  • If your schools have a school travel policy, then input the link into the 'School Travel Policy' field.
  • Completing the 'Local Amenities' field providing background information on local amenities in the surrounding area of your school.
  • Making sure the 'Number of Students' field is correct for your school. This is in the 'Student Information' field.
  • Making sure all the fields are accurate and correct in the 'Staff and Volunteer Information' field.
  • Making sure you have completed as much information as you can for the separate fields in the 'Site Details' field. (You can include a screengrab using Google Earth as your 'Site Photo' if you do not have one).
  • In the 'Additional Information' field, make sure the 'Local Authority Officer Working at Site' is updated with the Local Authority Officer you're working with in the Safer Travel Team.

Travel and transport tab

What fields need to be completed in the travel and transport section?

By clicking on the pencil in the top right-hand toolbar, you can see all the fields marked in a transparent colour which are editable. If possible, all fields should be completed, even if you're including a '0'.

The purpose of the travel and transport section of your plan is to provide an audit of your site, making note of all the available travel and transport amenities either on-site or in the near vicinity to school, as well as highlighting what may be lacking.


What information do I need to include in the 'Transportation Links' section of the Travel and Transport tab?

Providing as much information as you can within the each of the fields that make up the 'Transportation Links' is important. Providing detail around walking access, cycling access, bus access, rail access and road access is key. For example:

  • Where do pupils and staff walk in from?
  • What are the footways like?
  • Are there any footpaths within the vicinity of the school?
  • Are there any park and stride zones setup to walk to school from?
  • Are there any cycle routes or cycle paths that pupils or staff use?
  • What are the bus routes that serve the school?
  • What are the rail links like for the school? Where is the nearest station and what line is the station on?
  • What are the commonly used roads that are used by parents and staff to drive on to school?
  • Where do most parents park if they do drive their children to school?
  • Is there on-site parking for staff?

Aims and objectives tab

Do I need to complete the aims and objectives tab this year and what should I write as an aim or as an objective for example?

Yes, you do. This is a new tab to complete for green accreditation, which is the gateway to obtaining the bronze accreditation. The aim of your travel plan is to clearly state what your ambition for the plan will be. It's to show why you're putting a travel plan in place and what you want to achieve. The objectives of your plan are to state what tangible actions will be put in place to be able to work towards your aim. These objectives need to be created using the SMART framework.

An example of an aim is: XXXX School is creating a new travel plan to be embedded across the wider school community, to raise awareness and engagement with the opportunities of travelling to school (whether you're a pupil, parent, or staff member) actively and sustainably, with an aim of achieving a higher percentage of pupils travelling to schools using active modes of travel.

An example of an objective is: XXXX School's primary objective is to increase our pupil rates of walking, cycling, scooting, and parking and striding to school by the end of the academic year. We will measure this by establishing a baseline of how both pupils and staff travel to school through our Modeshift travel survey this year, and then when we come to reaccredit in 12 months' time, we will measure the impact that our initiatives outlined in this plan have had on increasing active modes of travel to school for pupils and staff.

Issues tab

How many issues do I need to input into my plan?

You need a minimum of one current issue that has been identified and recorded. Most schools have many more issues that they input into the plan. Issues are very important, as they provide the bedrock to building your plan, after you've inputted the necessary information.


If I input an issue, does that issue need to be solved in the first 12 months after my plan is signed off?

No, it doesn't. Some issues are short-term issues and can be solved relatively quickly. Other issues are long-term and could be related to improving infrastructure around the school site, so could take several years to solve. The key here is that the issue has been recognised and appropriate actions (targets, initiatives etc) have been put in place to work towards beginning to solve the issue.


How much detail to I need to include when inputting my issue into my plan?

The issue needs to be clearly defined. You need to articulate what the issue is, including as much detail as you can, whilst also showing what impact the issue has on the school, pupils, parents, staff, or residents. An example issue statement which illustrates what content is good to include into the 'details of issue' field is:

The school have received reports from residents of parents parking inconsiderately at drop-off and pick-up times. This has resulted in parents' cars obstructing access to residents' driveways, parking on pavements and parking on double-yellow lines on surrounding roads causing congestion and cars idling, therefore adding to the issues concerning air quality in the vicinity of the school.

Surveys tab

Who do I need to conduct a survey with?

A travel survey needs to be conducted with both pupils and staff at your school. This is a simple survey that asks what their usual mode of travel to school is, and what their preferred mode of travel would be.


Is there a minimum participation rate that I need to achieve?

Yes, there is.

For infant, primary, and junior schools you must achieve a minimum 80% pupil participation rate, and for staff, a minimum of 50% participation rate.

For secondary schools, you must achieve a minimum of a 70% pupils participation rate, and for staff, a minimum of 50% participation rate.


How do I go about conducting the survey and entering the results in my travel plan?

Modeshift have made conducting a survey simple. Go to the site tab of your plan, scroll down and you'll see a 'survey link' field with a distinct URL. Copy and paste this URL and then send this URL out to classroom teachers, asking them to open it in a browser, input the name of their class, the year group, and how many pupils were absent that day and then complete the survey with their class.

Also, send the same URL out to your wider staff team and ask them to complete the survey by opening the URL in their browser, select 'staff individual' and then complete the survey for themselves.


How many surveys do I need to do per year?

  • For green and bronze accreditation, you must conduct at least one survey per year.
  • For silver accreditation you must conduct at least two surveys per year in the last three years, and you must see a reduction in pupil travel to school by car in the last four academic years, including the current year.
  • For gold it is the same as silver, however, you must record a 5%-point reduction over the last four years, including the current year.
  • For platinum, you must record at least 3 pupil surveys per year over the last four years, including the current year, and gain an increase of at least 5% points across all active modes of travel over the last four years.

Targets tab

How many targets do I need to include in my travel plan?

You need at least two targets set each year. Targets must be clearly defined and not already achieved.


What types of targets are there available to include in my plan?

There are two types of targets:

Mode of Travel targets. These are based off the results from your survey (but also taking into consideration your travel issues) e.g., if your usual pupil walking rate is 50%, but your preferred pupil walking rate is 60%, you could input a target to achieve 55% of pupils walking to school by the end of the next 12 months.

Descriptive targets. These are targets that aren't modal shift targets but can still be linked to your survey or used to address your travel issues e.g., you could set a target which relates to reducing the number of resident complaints that the school receives each year concerning poor parent parking over driveways. The target will still need to be SMART and clearly articulated but won't be linked to a modal shift.


Where do I go to input my targets?

Go back to the site tab (home page) of your plan. Click on the cog's icon in the top right-hand toolbar and from the drop-down menu, select 'add new target'.

To create a mode of travel target, select 'student mode of travel' or 'staff mode of travel' and then input the target % you wish to work to, the due date and the description of the target.

To create a descriptive target, click on 'other', input the due date and enter a description of target.


Do I need to take my issues into consideration when setting my targets?

Yes, this is important. Your issues form the bedrock of your travel plan and your targets that you will set for the next 12 months will be working towards solving the issue, or issues that you've outlined in your plan.

Initiatives tabs

What are the different categories of initiatives that I need to include in my plan?

There are three different categories of initiatives that you'll need to input into your plan. These are:

  • Travel initiatives
  • Supporting travel initiatives
  • Consultation initiatives

Do my initiatives need to have been completed, or can they just be planned for the next 12 months?

For green accreditation, your initiatives only must be planned. For bronze, silver, gold, and platinum accreditation levels, you must have a minimum number of completed initiatives to submit for sign off, as well as several planned initiatives that look forward for the next 12 months and work towards fulfilling your targets and addressing your issues.


How many travel initiatives, supporting travel initiatives and consultation initiatives do I need for each accreditation level?

For green, you need:

  • 10 unique planned travel initiatives
  • 5 unique planned supporting travel initiatives
  • 2 unique planned consultation initiatives

For bronze, you need:

  • 10 unique completed travel initiatives
  • 5 unique completed supporting travel initiatives
  • 2 unique completed consultation initiatives

For silver, you need:

  • 20 unique completed travel initiatives
  • 10 unique completed supporting travel initiatives
  • 7 unique completed consultation initiatives

For gold, you need:

  • 25 unique completed travel initiatives
  • 15 unique completed supporting travel initiatives
  • 10 unique completed consultation initiatives

For platinum, you need:

  • The same number of initiatives as gold

Do I need to replace my travel, supporting travel and consultation initiatives each year?

Yes and No. Completed initiatives can be backdated over the last 3 years, so their duration is for 3 years. After 3 years, they will expire, so to reaccredit to the same level or higher, you would need to replace your initiatives. However, initiatives do need to be set to answer issues and meet the targets that you set for the next 12 months. For example, if you set a target that relates to increase the number of pupils cycling to school, then you must have cycling related initiatives that help you fulfil this target.


Do I need to upload evidence for each of my initiatives?

It is best practice to upload evidence of how you've completed an initiative. As a travel plan is a public-facing document, it would be our recommendation to not upload any sensitive documents e.g., photos with people who haven't provided their consent, people's email addresses, minutes from closed meetings.


Can I duplicate initiatives and use more than one of the same initiative codes within my travel plan?

Yes, you can, but the initiative will only count once towards your accreditation when you submit it for sign off.

There are initiatives that you may run every year, such as Bikeability Cycle Training. So, you can include these on your plan every year using the same code, but they will only count as one initiative.

There are initiatives such as Bikeability Cycle Training or Living Streets' WOW walk to school challenge which will run year in and year out, so will need to be logged on the travel plan every year, but will only count once towards your tally of initiatives. Remember, a travel plan is also a log of all of the activities a school does to promote active, safe and sustainable travel to school, so it's good to include everything you do.


When I go to add a travel initiative, or a supporting travel initiative on my plan, I can only 'add new initiative' and can't add a 'travel initiative' or a 'supporting travel initiative'?

When you 'add new initiative' to your plan, you must select in the 'type' field what type of initiative it is that you're adding.
If you select Walking and Scooting, Cycling, Road Safety, Air Quality or Public Transport, then these are classed as Travel Initiatives.
If you select Promotion, Curriculum, or partnerships, these are classed as Supporting Travel Initiatives.


What do each of the codes mean under the 'Action' dropdown when inputting my initiative?

Each initiative type has a series of specific initiatives that relate to the type. For example, if you select Walking and Scooting as your 'type', then you open the 'Action' dropdown, the first code you can see is W1 and relates to if your school runs the Living Streets WOW walk to school challenge.

There are specific initiative action codes such as W1 under Walking and Scooting, and less specific initiative action codes such as W11 under Walking and Scooting which relates to Walking Trips. If there isn't an action code that relates to the initiative you wish to input, then each initiative type has an 'other' category, and you can input your initiative under this, but be aware if you use the same action code twice it will only count once towards your accreditation.

Accreditation progress tab and sign off

How do I understand my progress when completing my travel plan?

The accreditation progress tab is where you can see your progress to each accreditation level. This is refreshed by Modeshift STARS support team overnight, so it may be that you enter and complete certain areas of your plan, but it is not showing in real-time, and you must wait to the following day to see your updated progress.


When I've completed my travel plan, and have had it checked and approved by Surrey County Council's Safer Travel Team and Travel Plan Officer, how do I submit the plan for sign off?

When you've completed all the necessary requirements for the accreditation level you wish to be accredited for, you'll see a button pop-up on the accreditation progress tab under each level that will say 'submit for accreditation'. This should only be clicked and submitted after you've received provisional sign off from the Safer Travel Team at Surrey County Council, otherwise the submission will be retracted, and amends completed before submitting again.

If the plan has been provisionally approved and you click the 'submit for accreditation' button under the level you wish to gain accreditation for, Surrey County Council will then provide final approval before notification gets sent to Modeshift STARS.


Do I receive anything after my plan is approved and sent to Modeshift STARS for accreditation?

There are three accreditation windows that Modeshift STARS work to. These are:

  • End of 31st March
  • End of 31st July
  • End of 31st December

After these windows close, Modeshift STARS supplies Surrey County Council with all the schools that have had plans submitted in that period, and who have been accredited by Modeshift STARS, and then shortly after will confirm this accreditation with the school. Modeshift STARS will also send a certificate (and frame if your school is achieving accreditation for the first time) to Surrey County Council's Safer Travel Team, and then the Safer Travel Team will send this directly to your school.

To find out more about Modeshift STARS and your accreditation journey please click here.


Can I download a PDF version of my plan to read or send to other stakeholders?

Yes, you can. Go back to the site tab and click on the cogs button in the toolbar in the top right-hand corner of your screen. In the drop-down menu, then click on 'Generate School Travel Plan' and this will appear in your 'attachments' field at the bottom of the site tab.