21 Nov, 2014 Last updated: 07 May, 2015

The City of Yarra developed and installed an animal tracks program leading to local primary schools in order to encourage ongoing active travel among school-aged children.

This case study addresses Requirement 3: Deliver local initiatives to support ongoing active travel by primary school aged children

The City of Yarra invited all schools to sign up for the Walk to School 2014 program and the first four schools to register were given the opportunity to participate in the Tracks to School initiative. Families within a 1-km radius of the schools received letters inviting them to host the animal prints outside their homes.  This served to build anticipation around Walk to School and gave families a sense of ownership, whilst meeting Council’s community consultation requirements.

Walk to School Case StudyOver 100 sets of tracks were installed several days before Walk to School, coinciding with the start of Term 4. Collaboration with the City of Darebin made it possible to include Alphington Primary School families located on the north side of Heidelberg Road.

The tracks were developed to highlight the adventure of walking to school. As part of the initiative, City of Yarra also supplied backpacks, which contained Explorers’ Log Book, Spotto Cards and a camera, which were designed to be rotated around the students in each class throughout the month of October.

One parent said, "We really like the tracks… my daughter and I walked to school today with the TRACKS pack, did the bingo activity and she will fill in the journal at school today. It has energised the whole class about walking/riding to school. Congratulations on a creative and fun project."

There were some interesting challenges involved in designing and implementing the tracks, most notably issues of scale and considerations about accuracy. In the end, the decision was made to put aside realism in favour of making the tracks "kid-size" – comparable to a child’s foot size and skipping step. 

According to Lorraine Cappozzo, Active Travel Coordinator at Trinity Catholic Primary School in West Richmond, "The children and families really enjoyed spotting the footprints on their way to and from school. The tracks are still there six months later and continue to remind us about incorporating active travel in a healthy lifestyle."

The tracks have been so successful and welcomed in the community that other schools have expressed an interest in hosting the tracks in future.  Inspired by Yarra’s initiative, City of Boroondara has since rolled out the tracks as part of a program that they are running with three local primary schools.

The local activities delivered by City of Yarra in 2014 resulted in students from five local primary schools participating in Walk to School – a strong result compared to no student participation the previous year, when the City of Yarra did not take part in local Walk to School activities.

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