Brisbane Active School Travel Program

Design Feature
Type of Project
Local Government Initiative

Brisbane City Council’s Active School Travel (AST) program is a three-year travel behaviour change program for primary schools across Brisbane. It is the longest-running program of its type nationally. By focusing on school travel behaviour, AST encourages families to leave the car behind and walk, cycle, scoot, car pool or catch public transport to school. 

In 2017, the program successfully reduced the number of single-family car trips to participating schools on average by 23%. Each year walking is the most popular mode and in 2017 the 23% average increase was primarily due to an increase in walking (20%). Some schools achieve active travel rates over 60%, with a majority of families choosing not to drive and thousands of children filling the footpaths instead.

Transforming the journey of 104,000 kids

The Active School Travel program was established in 2004 and over 158 Brisbane primary schools have now participated. It was initially developed as a road safety program which then evolved into an active travel program to ensure there was a balanced approach to traffic congestion and health improvement. It also includes messages that support the well-researched health benefits to children from increased activity levels, such as walking and riding to school. The program is aligned with Brisbane City Council’s active transport vision, which is to create a high quality, connected, accessible pathway network which will attract people of all ages to walk and cycle.   

By increasing the number of families who actively travel to school, the AST program aims to: 

  • Boost exercise levels and improve health and wellbeing of students and parents 
  • Make school streets safer and less congested 
  • Create closer communities 
  • Improve students’ road safety skills 
  • Develop students’ independence.     
RACQ officers visit AST schools to deliver presentations covering road safety themes like passenger, pedestrian and bicycle safety.
RACQ officers visit AST schools to deliver presentations covering road safety themes like passenger, pedestrian and bicycle safety.

Each school on the AST program establishes a committee that works closely with a dedicated Council officer who provides specialist behaviour change advice and resources.

A highlight of the program is students receiving their scooter licence!
A highlight of the program is students receiving their scooter licence!

Over the three-year program, each school implements strategies that provide families with the information, motivation and opportunity to adopt active travel modes.

Schools tailor the program to their needs and have access to:

  • Dedicated Council Officer to provide practical advice and information
  • Weekly active travel days
  • AST passports for every student
  • Rewards and incentives for individuals, classes and schools 
  • Customised active travel maps, with identified Park & Stride routes
  • Professional assembly performances
  • Bike and scooter skills training
  • “Bus Buzz” public transport orientation sessions
  • RACQ “Streets Ahead” road safety sessions.

Evaluation of the program is ongoing with current measurements including: 

  • Pre and Post AST-intervention survey 
  • Weekly, active travel day hands-up survey in class
  • Survey of parents
  • AST committee surveys
  • Feedback forms for all skills training sessions
  • Compilation of end-of-year evaluation report for each school.

To encourage more networking and ongoing participation in the program, the Brisbane Lord Mayor hosts an annual awards presentation where outstanding schools are recognised for their achievements and all schools are given an opportunity to share ideas.

Project Team

  • Brisbane City Council’s AST team 
  • Participating school AST committees which can include Principal/Deputy Principal, teacher/s, administration staff, parent/s, student representatives and local Councilor
  • Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads 
  • Royal Automobile Club Queensland (RACQ) Streets Ahead Program
  • Bike and scooter skills providers and professional performers
  • Transport for Brisbane (BCC).

Project Cost

  • AST annual 2017-18 budget is $750,000

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