Active Maps project encourages physical activity, reduces traffic

Published on 16 August 2019

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New Active Maps project to encourage physical activity and reduce traffic congestion

Colac school children will be encouraged to walk or ride to school – or at least part of the way – as part of a new initiative to increase physical activity and reduce traffic congestion near schools.

Colac Otway Shire, Colac Area Health, Bicycle Network and three local primary schools will join forces to launch the pilot program this week, developing maps of preferred walking routes with school children and identifying “drop and walk” points.

Colac Otway Shire Arts and Leisure Project Officer Amanda Shepherd said Council would launch the Active Map initiative on Friday with workshops involving students who will help plan the walking routes within their neighbourhoods.

“The idea is to map the walking routes that children already feel comfortable taking and encourage more children to do the same.

“The project links Colac Otway Shire’s VicHealth Walk to School campaign and Colac Area Health’s Colac Otway Choose Change campaign, in partnership with Bicycle Network,” Ms Shepherd said.

“Through student workshops with St Mary’s, Colac West and Elliminyt primary schools, we will establish two drop-and-walk points and preferred walking routes to encourage children to walk part of the way to school.

“The drop-off points will provide students who live greater distances from schools with an opportunity to get into the healthy habit of walking and enjoying more quality social time with classmates on the way to school, while increasing safety for students by walking together as a group.

“Parents dropping off their children at a suitable location away from the school also aims to reduce the traffic at the school gates at the start and end of the day.

“Proposed drop-off points will be about 800 metres from each school, with the northern end of Armstrong Street and the Pound Road-Main Street intersection to be considered.

“A permanent sign will be installed at the drop-off points as part of a pilot program with the three schools.

“Active Maps will be launched as part of its Walk to School Campaign in October and Colac Area Health will promote the initiative through its Colac Otway Choose Change Campaign, in partnership with Deakin University and G21,” she said.

“Walk to School Month is well supported by local families but ideally, walking to school will be an all-year-round choice for students.”

Colac Otway Choose Change is a community-driven approach that involves the whole community and considers all the factors that influence our food and physical activity choices. The aim is to create an environment that makes the healthy choice the easy choice when it comes to food and physical activity.