The past six months has seen dramatic changes to our transport networks.
Eamon Scullion is a Senior Consultant and Belfast Transport Lead at Arup, with 14 years’ experience in delivering transformational mobility projects.
Here he looks at how we must revisit our transport infrastructure, focusing on child-friendly design, and how Arup’s Active Schools Travel Index can help.
To address some of these questions and provide local governments with a practical mechanism to prioritise the areas of most need, working with local partners the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA), my colleagues and I have come up with a solution. We are developing a specialised tool that maps and analyses our towns or cities existing active travel infrastructure and evaluate the level of accessibility to each school in the specified area.
Schools will be assessed against a range of indicators and allocated a score. These scores will be weighted and combined to form an overall active travel accessibility score for each school, enabling them to be ranked and areas of need to be identified.
The Active Schools Travel Index will rely primarily on open source data, with the option to add more detail as available or required. The results will be displayed in an interactive spatial dashboard and will enable schools to be directly compared via overall score, as well as by individual indicator scores.
It is intended that the development of this Index will offer local governments visibility on how targeted infrastructure investment will make meaningful improvements to our active travel networks, by providing a clear understanding of where the gaps are in active travel infrastructure.
The pandemic has presented us with an opportunity, and it is up to us to take it. As a society we have a collective responsibility to help our children get moving, therefore the urgency to press ahead with transformative plans to boost our active travel networks could not be greater. The development of the Active Schools Travel Index will be key in unlocking the path ahead of us.