Last updated July 2008 - this page now ARCHIVED
You have brains in your head, You have feet in your shoes, You can steer yourself any direction you choose
Article in Daily Mail in January 2005 suggested that parents will clock up 80 000 miles of driving by the time their children are 17...
Loads of data on HOW PUPILS TRAVEL TO SCHOOL which can form the basis for an ICT unit as it has data downloadable in spreadsheet format which can then be manipulated. The effect of the school run on the morning traffic in towns can also be a useful topic of discussion.
GLASGOW is a city which has spent millions of pounds on improving its traffic congestion problems. These are explained in the Geography section of the Essex Grid for Learning. There are details on the various schemes, and a task sheet.
The BBC's site has an excellent area in its HOT TOPICS section. This has some excellent pages of links related to transport. Recommended.
Some other useful information on Safe Routes to School and lots more at the site of the Lothian based group SPOKES. The site has the memorable quotation below:
"Adding lanes to solve traffic congestion is like loosening your belt to combat obesity"
In Sheffield (and some other cities) there has been the return of the electric trams that were removed from many cities at the beginning of the 20th Century. Sheffield has introduced the SUPERTRAM, which is certainly a pleasant travelling experience, but there is some opposition to the planned extensions of the route. This is a useful case study of transport change.
Car sharing is another way to reduce congestion. Norfolk has a CARSHARE scheme with a website.
One place where great steps have been taken to reduce traffic congestion is SINGAPORE. Go HERE for more details on SINGAPORE in general, and the measures to reduce car ownership. Thanks to Leslea Allen for the information on this.
There are also schemes in NORWAY.
TRONDHEIM (schemes also in Bergen and Oslo)
Charging area approximately 4km by 6km
Fully automatic ‘toll ring’ was introduced in 1991 and subsequently divided into sectors.
Charging period 6am – 6pm, Monday to Friday
electronic toll booths deduct fee from windscreen-mounted unit each time
vehicle enters toll zone or passes a toll point within the zone, rather than on daily basis
Limits imposed on
number of charges that can be made so that people who live close by
the ring or who make very frequent crossings do not have huge bills
Occasional users can pay by automatic coin machine or by ‘swipecard’ at barriered lanes
Toll prices go up
during peak rush hours and drivers are also charged a toll for passing
from one sector of the toll ring to another
Heavy Goods Vehicles pay a double toll.
Peak rush hour traffic immediately dipped by 10 per cent
Revenues from the
tolls have paid to improve roads and build bypasses to cut traffic
Income is also
used to give commuters other options by upgrading public transit, building
bicycle paths and even providing 200 free bicycles for use downtown
initially 72% opposed, dropping to 48% two months after launch and
reducing to 36% by 1996
The Government finally look set to ban people using mobile phones in their cars, and about time too. Go to the BBC NEWS site for an article on this theme. This could be the theme of a data collection exercise.
Taking your test soon - or just want to refresh your memory on the Highway Code ? The HIGHWAY CODE is now ONLINE, or you can order a print copy from the site.
Try METRO PLANET for plans on the world's underground networks. This is one of the final options for a city when other methods to reduce congestion have been found wanting. The site is a labour of love..
How about CAR SHARING ? Head over to the SMART MOVES site for more detail.
SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT in MILTON KEYNES is covered here, along with a useful analogy taken from an article:
Plunge a frog in boiling water and it will immediately hop out. Put the same frog in a pan of cold water and slowly apply heat and the frog will hardly notice until the water is boiling and it is too late to do anything about it. A gruesome image perhaps but an apt one for the coming crisis in Milton Keynes' transport systems....
The number of journeys by bike has fallen by 36% since 1985. Cycling accounts for only 0.6% of the total distance we travel.
We each travel an average of 6728 miles a year: 5553 of them by car. Average household expenditure on transport per week in 1999 was £60.
Average traffic speed in London is around 10mph.
21% of secondary school students travel to school by car.
The most cycle-friendly city in the UK is York.
King's Lynn also has a higher than average use of cycling to get to work, since it is a flat place, and has less wet weather which might discourage some people from cycling.
Road use has increased by 73% in the last 20 years according to official statistics. Petrol prices have increased by 12%, but bus fares have risen by 31% and rail fares by 37%. Average disposable income has increased by 80%, so transport, particularly cars, have become relatively more affordable. The number of people using buses has slumped by 21%, although demand has remained the same in London. Accidents have decreased (The Independent, 17/01/03)
Go HERE for my page of CONGESTION CHARGING links.
The THORNEY BYPASS page - useful for Year 8s to set up the KEYTOWN exercise...
Heading across the Channel, the Channel Tunnel is an area of study which is frequently included in Key Stage 3 courses.
I would head for my own CHANNEL TUNNEL LINKS PAGE of course. This has all the important links that you would need and some lesson plan ideas.
Check out the CHANNEL TUNNEL rail link articles and information at the GUARDIAN'S site. There was an excellent photo essay on the construction in the Guardian in May 2005.
What about the Underground railway ? In Newcastle they have the 'clockwork orange'. The METRO has a site to itself. A recent discovery, and one which is very useful for a project on London and its transport problems is the LONDON TRANSPORT site. Has details on all types of transport in the Capital. The problems of traffic congestion are a recurring one. In terms of reducing congestion, an underground railway is usually a last resort. The classic LONDON TUBE MAP has often been the basis for work on topological maps and networks.
Visit THE TUBE's site. This has everything you want to know about the London Underground. There's the history of the development of the underground, and a useful resource for a project is the JOURNEY PLANNER: enter your start station and finish station, and the names of any place you want to go through, and it will provide you with a step by step guide to which train to catch, how long it will take you and even print out a map. All good stuff! Recommended.
Another useful area of the site in this respect is the TUBE GURU. The Tube map is also a work of art in itself, and has been adapted by several others, for example Simon Patterson's 'The Great Bear'.
A new resource for October 2006 is produced by TfL for the Docklands Light Railway. There is a FREE DOWNLOADABLE resource pack available from http://www.dlr.co.uk/teachers
That old staple of Year 8 Scheme of Work. We do a survey next to a junction where traffic has several options, and it has also been interesting to see the change in traffic since the opening of a new Tesco store.
The BBC programme 4X4 recently (May 2002) had a programme about Gridlock, and had a competition: 'Un-Gridlock the UK' which asked people under 16 to come up with some ideas for banishing traffic jams. There are apparently over half a million traffic jams every year in the UK: 10,000 per week.
London's Mayor, Ken Livingstone (who I once sat next to on the tube..) is introducing congestion charges for the city, to try to reduce the pressure on the city from the sheer number of pupils. There are already people looking at ways of avoiding these - a recent newspaper article showed the introduction of plate shields which are a little like the revolving plates on James Bond's car.
The link between airports and the environment is a strong (and generally a negative one). While there is undeniably a lot to be said for getting into a plane in Norwich and getting out at Schiphol 45 minutes later, and 20 minutes later you're at Centraal Station getting a Heineken (as 'the wife' and I did pre kids....) the general trend is for airports to bring NOISE and AIR POLLUTION. The rise of cheap air fares has meant an explosion in the number of flights which has dramatically increased the amount of pollution, which is also 'injected' straight into the upper atmosphere. Airport extensions tend to be fiercely opposed. There are plans for extensions at GATWICK, and also a new airport at CLIFFE in Kent. See the RSPBs opposition to the plans HERE. This could also mean extra air traffic over the Norfolk coast according to a recent article in 'The Sunday Times'.
When I was young, Tufty the Squirrel taught me how to cross the road safely. I was discussing this with a colleague Mr. Gough recently and he had a great nostalgia for TUFTY BADGES. Of course the net has all this material available at the SCARY SQUIRREL site. You can read all the old Public Information films as well: 'would you like to see some puppies...' Or you could go for David Prowse in tights (he was Darth Vader you know...)
One method used to improve road safety (hopefully) is the range of TRAFFIC CALMING measures which have been introduced. These are often accompanied by multi-coloured tarmac in oranges and greens.
There are a range of typical measures used:
Speed bumps ('sleeping policemen') - these are controversial, and people who live near to them often complain of the noise and vibration caused by the impact of a large vehicle - they are also not popular with people who have to cross them frequently as part of their job
Rumble strips: raised cobbles running across the carriageway at intervals to create a warning 'noise' on approach to a sharp bend - they are similar to the raised yellow lines on approach to roundabouts which gradually narrow as the roundabout gets nearer to encourage people to slow down - can be stone setts/cobbles or textured surfaces
Traffic throttles - narrowing of areas to focus attention on pedestrian crossing
Width restrictions - to reduce large vehicles, or prevent them from entering the area
Plugs - create one way entry streets to reduce 'rat runs' - for those who know King's Lynn, King George V Avenue near to KES is an example of this...
20 mph limits
The NORTHANTS police have placed resources relating to their StreetCred campaign.
The resources include Web Links, Video materials, lesson ideas and images of various items of street furniture and safety information. It's a good effort!
COMMUTING TO WORK
Free RAC resource: STREETS AHEAD, which has the good feature of a mention of GeographyPages. We use the TABOO game which is included here - there's also a mystery about a stressed school pupil which we also use, and there are some useful stimulus photos...
Some facts on transport from an article in the Guardian - April 2006
31% of people in the UK live more than half an hour from work
3.5 million live more than an hour away
8% of people in the UK work from home
75% of people commute alone
Men choose to live further away than women
THE SECRET LIFE OF THE BRITISH MOTORWAY - BBC4 Series
When the first motorway was opened in the 1950's: the Preston bypass, there were no speed limits. Many people made a special trip just to go on the motorway. To begin with the motorways were fairly empty, so there was a lot of excitement and freedom. No sharp corners, no hills, no traffic jams, no crash barriers between the carriageways. Lots of interviews with geographers.. and mention of geography.
The series has been getting great reviews, and it's clear how the motorway links to lots of areas of out lives, and also popular culture.
Also lots on how motorways improved our geography, as they led to people exploring areas that they wouldn't otherwise have visited. Good section in episode 2 of the growth of the Motorway service station, and how exotic it looked.
Tim Edensor: a geographer from MMU talked about the viewing tower at Forton services with its observation tower.
Rise of commuting: Warrington - over a third of the population commute out of the town.
Also growth of hitch-hiking: another cultural phenomenon which seems to have died out a little - did a bit of it when I was younger...
Good to see Martin Parr too, talking about the earlier photographs of the service stations and postcards that people used to send from them. I have a copy of his BORING POSTCARDS book and it's excellent....
Bridge restaurant at Leicester Forest East, designed by Terence Conran. People booking it for birthday and Christmas meals...
http://www.msatrivia.co.uk/default.htm - some useful illustrations...
Click to enlarge
1 in 4 lorries on the road is carrying food for a supermarket. Mentioned MAGNA PARK: Asda warehousing facility: M1, M6 and M69
Retail chains release space for sales purposes rather than for storage: 'just in time'... Get cash before they have to pay their suppliers by centralising
Average distance food travels in UK has more than doubled since 1962. We are travelling further to shop as well.
Bluewater (27 million customers a year, based on a survey of shopping fantasies...) - Also mentioned as being "part of the national curriculum for Geography"
The third episode looked at the end of the affair: motorway protesters, as well as the building of the M25 and the transport planning for London.
"The Motorway Box" plan started the problems...
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