News Detail

Southend-on-Sea reports on Traffic Snake Game pilot

Southend piloted the Traffic Snake Game (TSG) during two weeks in July 2017.

Although reaching out to many schools that we have regular contact with through our Bikeability programme (cycle training) only two schools came forward to work with us on this pilot. These schools were Chalkwell Hall and Sacred Heart.  Both schools were very supportive and accommodating and showed great enthusiasm for the project which made making arrangements very easy for us.  Both schools were happy to send out the consent forms and collect them back in and supply us with list of the children that were taking part.

Chalkwell Hall aimed the project at Year 4 pupils. Out of a potential 108 pupils, 42 parents consented that their child could take place in the pilot. Sacred Heart aimed the project at 90 pupils across Years 2, 4 and 6.  A total of 69 pupils took part in the pilot.

Before handing the trackers to the pupils at both schools we gave a short talk about the project, what sustainable travel meant to them and the benefits there were for themselves and the environment.  The pupils had many great intelligent questions which were answered before we noted the mode of transport each of them had used to get to school that morning, which could be used as a baseline assessment. The children were initially excited about receiving a tracker but were disappointed that they could not switch them on or see any evidence that it was actually working and tracking them. When the children returned the tracker the next day they did not show any enthusiasm at all as we spoke with them to check the mode of transport they had used that morning for evaluation purposes.

It was hoped that we could set the receivers up at the respective schools to download the information but although the schools were happy for us to connect to their Wi-Fi we were not able to access it due to the firewall that is in place for all schools in the Southend Borough.  We did speak to the ICT Department within the Council requesting that the schools network  be configured in order to allow the data to be sent but they were not comfortable with the tracing of children even though a Privacy Impact Agreement had been completed and we had to transport the trackers to an alternative venue to download the data. When transporting the trackers they were wrapped in aluminium foil to stop the trackers picking up the journey data as advised by Mobiel 21. 

Although as yet not many routes have appeared on the website it has been a good opportunity to talk to pupils about sustainable travel and to raise their awareness of the impact their journeys to school have on their health, mental wellbeing as well as the environment.

Some observations on the tracking device itself:

  • It needs a reset button ”“ to clear all data manually.
  • It needs an on/off button ”“ to enable movement of the devices of they haven’t uploaded yet
  • A status LED is required - i.e uploading, recording, memory full, ready to use, etc.
  • The device is too big ”“ the device is very large considering what is available on the market for similar purposes.
  • Wi-fi is not a suitable method of data transfer ”“ NFC would be more suitable.
  • There are too many cables - Trackers should plug into a charging bank or similar for charging.