Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The Australian School Run

I've made a new film. There’s no music or voice-over. Nothing much happens, it’s just 50 minutes of morning traffic in a suburb of Perth. A comparison between traffic on a normal Friday and five weeks later on a Friday during the school holidays. 

You won’t be seeing this one on the film festival circuit.

The recording time has been compressed to three and a half minutes, and I’ve added a counter showing the number of motor vehicles. Even with that exciting addition I expect most people will skim to the end.

In Australia it has become normal to drive children to school. There are various figures: some say 51% are taken by car, others say 75%. In this film it appears to be even more.

Most parents consider it's not safe enough for children to walk or ride bikes to school because there are so many parents driving their children to school. It has taken Australia only one generation to get into this crazy spiral.

Next time somebody complains about road congestion and suggests spending our money on a new freeway, bypass or extra slip lanes at intersections, we can remind them that designing our roads to  enable our children to travel to school by themselves will be cheaper and better for all of us. We will have money for separated bicycle tracks if we stop wasting money fixing the wrong problem.

This is Jeans Road in Karrinyup. There are three schools nearby: St Mary's Anglican School for girls (Kindergarden to Year 12), Deanmore Primary School and Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Primary School. St Mary's has over 1350 students, they can arrive at school from 8:00am however the preference is for students to arrive between 8:30 and 8:55am.

Mornings in Australia could look like this

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