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  • Brisbane City Council
Landmark Case Study

Brisbane's Active Schools Travel Program

Showing a long-term commitment to travel behaviour change, Brisbane (Australia) City Council’s Active Schools Travel program was established in 2004 and by 2018 over 157 primary schools had participated in the program. Initially developed as a road safety program, it has evolved into an active travel program to ensure there a balanced approach to reducing traffic congestion and increasing physical activity levels. It now offers weekly active travel days, special events, maps, bike and scooter skills training and public transport orientation classes for students. There are competitions and rewards to incentivise individuals, classes and whole school populations, and opportunities to identify necessary infrastructure improvements. On average, the progam has achieved a 23% increase in active travel (mostly walking trips), corresponding to a 23% reduction in car trips. Designated a Landmark Case Study in 2018. 

Getting Informed

When the program began, it was as a response to public complaints about traffic congestion, driver behaviour and parking around Brisbane schools. By implementing a behaviour change program that encouraged the school community to use more active travel options, Council could help reduce the number of cars in and around the school precinct. 

The benefits of increased active travel are well documented and each AST school’s committee identifies a range of benefits to them including less congested streets, increased physical activity, improved road safety skills, increased student independence and closer communities.

Barriers to active travel are identified by the school’s AST committee and through an annual parents’ survey. Once identified, Council can assist the school to address barriers such distance from home to school, safe crossing points, knowledge of best routes, time constraints, poor weather and lack of skills through education, facilitation or infrastructure planning.

Delivering the Program

Under Development

This progam was designated a Landmark case study in October, 2018 and we are currently working on the full text version.

Primary schools demonstrating need and commitment must apply to be selected for the three year program, which offers a tailored suite of initiatives to participating schools. Each school on the AST program establishes a committee that works closely with a dedicated Council officer to implement strategies that provide families with the information, motivation and opportunity to adopt active travel modes. It’s about creating a new normal for travel at each school.

The program focuses on not only road safety, but also offers weekly active travel days, special events, maps, bike and scooter skills training and public transport orientation classes where students learn the logistics of using active travel modes, the associated expected behaviours and safety. Competitions and rewards incentivise individuals, classes and whole school populations and there are links to infrastructure improvements identified by the school population.

The program is funded by Brisbane City Council (Council) and employs 3.5 full-time staff.


  • 23% increase in active travel, corresponding to a 23% reduction in car trips (on average per student, and overall)
  •  Of that 23% increase, 20% was an increase in walking trips
  • 82% of parents believe their children’s road safety awareness improved as a result of the program
  • In 2018, over 24,000 students were engaged in the program. 
  • In the past, the program has achieved up to a 35% decrease in single car trips to school. 
  • In addition to the increase in active travel, schools also reported increased exercise levels that improved the health and wellbeing of students and parents, a cleaner environment, safer streets, increased student independence and closer community connections.


Landmark Designation

This year’s panelists included members from on-the-ground programs as well as from some of North America’s most proactive consulting, NGO, and government organizations supporting sustainable transportation professionals (including David Levinger from The Mobility Education Foundation, Geoff Noxon from Noxon Associates, JoAnn Woodhall from Translink, Nathalie Lapointe from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Phil Winters from the University of South Florida, and Ryan Lanyon from the City of Toronto.)

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