When it comes to getting kids to school safely and on time, the school drop off zone continues to pose a headache. Parents trying to drop off their kids are often in a hurry, and the drop off area needs to be able to withstand a high volume of traffic during the half hour or so before the school day begins.
Deliberate, creative design can help ensure that your school’s drop off zone is functional, convenient, and safe for students. If you’re planning a school or thinking of renovating your current setup, the below tips can help.
Features to Include in Your School Drop Off Zone
Your school drop off zone needs to be designed to withstand the traffic that your school sees during its prime hours – just before school starts in the morning, and again when school lets out for the day. As you plan your drop off zone, be sure to incorporate the following tips:
- Create a one-way counterclockwise direction allows students to be picked up and dropped off directly on the sidewalk, helping to keep them out of traffic.
- Keep school buses in a separate area to help reduce congestion.
- A zone needs to be long enough to handle the volume of cars that it needs to support. Zones that are too short will lead to backup and a slowed drop off and pickup time.
- Design your zone so that students don’t have to cross any traffic before they reach the school building.
- Keep car, bus, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic separate by using different zones.
Implementing a Successful School Drop Off Zone
A good design will go a long way in keeping the drop off zone working well, but there are some additional strategies you can implement to keep things moving smoothly.
Make sure that your drop off zone is clearly marked with highly visible paint and signs so that parents don’t get confused about where to go. You may want to provide some guidance on drop off zone usage and rules during your school’s open house. This can also serve as a chance to address parent questions and concerns.
You can even get students involved in helping to keep school drop offs and pickups run smoothly. The AAA School Safety Patrol Program encourages students to become volunteer safety patrollers. They help to direct children safely during drop offs and pickups, and can help to teach other students about traffic safety. Learn more about your role as a program advisor here.
Strategies to Reduce Congestion
There are a number of ways that you can encourage students and parents to take actions that will reduce the congestion in your drop off zone during peak hours.
- Implement rules overseeing the drop off policy, such as no double parking, no line cutting, and not permitting parents to get out of the car.
- Provide a map and overview of the drop off policy on the school website so everyone’s familiar with the rules.
- Have staff on hand to help keep things moving by guiding kids toward the building and directing traffic, if necessary.
Carpooling is also a valuable strategy to help reduce the number of cars in your drop off lane each day. When a parent brings two or three kids to school in a single car, that saves another car or two from being in the drop off line. Carpooling also offers valuable environmental benefits, too.
GoKid Australia can help you encourage parents to create carpools for their children. Our transportation technology makes it easy for parents to find school families who live nearby and might want to carpool. The app offers all sorts of features for scheduling and monitoring carpools, and with the school dashboard feature, school admins can see how many school families use GoKid and how many carpools have been created.
With schools starting up soon, what has your school done to make the drop off zone as safe, simple, and fast as possible?