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Section 4 - Being TravelSmart

4.1 Transport options
4.2 Walking
4.3 Cycling for transport and your health
4.4 Public transport
4.5 Spreading the TravelSmart message

4.1 Transport options


To recognise that there are advantages and disadvantages to our dependence on the motor car as a mode of travel and to understand that a balance of transport modes has a beneficial impact on individuals, communities and the environment.


Students will be able to:

Activities JUNIOR PRIMARY - 4.1 Learning Activities

Brainstorm / Concept map

Being TravelSmart means that we can make choices about the types of transport we use.

Focus questions:

Links Section 5 – Resources – 5.1 Thinking and teaching strategies


Discuss with students why we should be trying to reduce our car usage.

Focus questions:

Discuss the viability of the suggestions and the practicalities of putting them into action.

Concept map - What are the options?

Students explore the options for travel, discussing other modes of transport as well as smarter ways of using the motor car.

Some options are:

There are more options to explore. Extend this concept map by considering the plus, minus and interesting aspects of each option.

Links Section 5 – Resources – 5.1 Thinking and teaching strategies


Students discuss ideas for presentation of their understanding of transport options and design and create a display to advertise the theme - 'We're a TravelSmart class'.

Activities MIDDLE PRIMARY - 4.1 Learning Activities

Pencil Activity 4.1 MP - Transport options

Revise the advantages of the motor vehicle and consider some disadvantages; for example, greenhouse gas emissions, reduction in physical activity, cost of fuel and maintenance, traffic congestion.

Focus questions:

For example; catching a bus means less traffic in the local area. This creates a safer environment for walking and lessens greenhouse gas emissions.

Students complete the Activity, listing alternative modes of transport, their advantages and scenarios when these alternative modes could be used.

Concept map

Explore the importance of using alternative transport modes.

Focus facts:

Links Section 5 – Resources – 5.1 Thinking and teaching strategies

Pencil Activity 4.1 MP - Transport modes

Students read the map and decide what transport mode could be used reach the listed destinations. The route to each destination is coloured according to the transport mode chosen.

Students should consider why Joel might be travelling to the destination and, using the scale provided, calculate the distance of the journey before deciding which mode is the best option.

Personal travel plans

Students could estimate the distance from their homes to three different destinations.

If possible, ask an adult to help check their estimates. After the estimate is checked, describe how the trip to each destination would be completed and give reasons for the choice of transport mode. Personal travel plans could be presented as a piece of procedural writing or as a recount.

Links Section 5 - Resources - 5.3 Text types

Pencil Activity 4.1 MP - Win-win?

Students complete the table of disadvantages of motor car usage in relation to individuals and communities and make suggestions on how to reduce family use of the car.


Design a pamphlet outlining some of the negative aspects of motor car usage and the impact these aspects have on individuals and communities. Include a list of suggestions for reducing dependency on the car. Display these pamphlets in the school and community and share them with family members.

Pencil Activity 4.1 MP - Find-a-word

Students complete the Find-a-word. The remaining letters spell out an important message. (Answer: Make a difference - TravelSmart!)

TravelSmart Log

Students discuss and define transport option terms such as car pooling, ride sharing, travel blending and trip chaining.

Activities UPPER PRIMARY - 4.1 Learning Activities

Pencil Activity 4.1 UP - Travel and transport alternatives

Students list and discuss the various advantages of alternative transport modes and share experiences they have had when using them.

Focus questions:

Students complete the Activity, listing alternative modes of transport and recording advantages and possible scenarios when their family would be most likely to use them. Ask students to compare their list with a partner.

Pencil Activity 4.1 UP - How far is that?

Students work with partners to estimate the dimensions of items in the school and then to measure the actual length and width of each item, using appropriate measurement tools. Discuss results with the class.

Focus questions:

Working in pairs, students read and complete the second part of the Activity.

Planning a trip

Using a street directory, calculate the approximate distance of a trip to five different destinations. Students will need to locate the scale on a map to calculate the distance in real terms.

After each calculation, decide on what mode of transport would be most appropriate and give reasons. Remember to try to use alternative modes of transport to the car.

Pencil Activity 4.1 UP - Decision making

Working in small groups, students are asked to read the solutions box. Using the 'Will it' questioning grid, students are given questions to help evaluate the solutions. Students will need to identify the positives and negatives and use this information to make a decision on a rating of 1, 2 or 3.

Students will need to record their rating in the box provided. After rating all the solutions, students are asked to pick the best possible solution out of the selection and write a paragraph explaining how and why the solution is beneficial to the environment and how they would put the solution into action.

Class discussion

Discuss with students the solutions and the process of rating them. Did they find this effective? Can they suggest other ways to rate the solutions?

Rate the solutions as a class, using the topics as a mini-debate.

Solutions - greenhouse gas emissions and travel behaviour

In groups, students prepare a list of solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions related to travel behaviour.

Groups exchange lists, then rate the solutions using the 'Will it' questions.

Repeat this process until a best solution has been decided by the class.

Students could prepare a report on how to put the solution into practice. Include an outline of why the solution is viable, what laws or rules would need to be put into practice to support the solution and how would it impact on the environment.

Class discussion

Students explore and record their understandings of the following statements:

Pencil Activity 4.1 MP

Pencil Activity 4.1 UP

4.2 Walking


To recognise the benefits of, and encourage participation in, walking as an alternative transport choice.


Students will be able to:

Activities JUNIOR PRIMARY - 4.2 Learning Activities

Class discussion / Brainstorm - What's good about walking?

Students contribute to a discussion, exploring the Plus Minus Interesting aspects of walking as a transport mode. Some different ideas to talk about are 'walking the plank', 'walking off your dinner', 'going by shanks's pony'

Links Section 5 – Resources – 5.1 Thinking and teaching strategies


In an ordinary day, we do a lot of walking. Using the diary page, students record all their walking over a set period of time, for example, recess time at school. Using a trundle wheel, retrace the walks to measure how far they walked in that time.

Extend this investigation by measuring the same distance in a straight line.

Links Section 2 - Tuning in - Activity 2.3 JP Travel diary


Using a procedural structure, students plan a walking trip to a favourite destination. They could record attractions, hazards, distances and approximate time of the walk.

Links Section 5 - Resources - 5.3 Text types

Research - Walking and energy

Walking uses up our body's energy - and food provides the energy we need.

What are the best energy foods? Students could bring labels from some favourite foods, read the information about energy and rate the foods according to how much energy they provide.

Activities MIDDLE PRIMARY - 4.2 Learning Activities

Planning a mystery walk

Discuss with students the points to consider in planning this activity:

Students could work in groups, each planning a different aspect of the excursion and reporting their work to the class for discussion.

Do they need to present their proposal to the school's decision-making committee?Do they need to write a permission note to be signed by each student's parent/carer?Will they write an article for the school newsletter?Will they ask the school's parent committee to provide cool drinks at the venue?Remember to emphasise the reasons the students are involved in this activity - to encourage the health and environmental aspects of walking as a transport alternative.Use a cooperative checklist to assess the way students have worked in planning the walk.

Pencil Activity 4.2 MP - Cooperative checklist

Links Section 5 – Resources – 5.1 Thinking and teaching strategies

Concept map

Federal, state and local governments are working with community organisations to make walking a more attractive transport option. They consider issues of safety, footpath structure and special pedestrian needs in encouraging people to walk, by choice.

Students develop a concept map of all the things that are related to walking.

Links Section 5 - Resources - 5.1 Thinking and teaching strategies

The school could organise a walk to a local centre, landmark, attraction or event. Make sure a walk is included as an activity while the class is on camp.


Students develop a research plan to investigate one of the concepts. There are several web sites which can be accessed for information.

WWW For example

Activities UPPER PRIMARY - 4.2 Learning Activities


People walk for lots of different reasons, for example walking to school, walking to and from public transport, walking to, from and at work, walking to local businesses/services, walking for fitness and health, walking for recreation, walking the dog and walking for pleasure.Students add to this list and develop a mind map of the special clothing and equipment that are needed for each 'type' of walking.

Links Section 5 – Resources – 5.1 Thinking and teaching strategies


Students access the website below, and print the PDF 'How walkable is your community?'Each student could complete the checklist and then ask four other people in their community to participate. Are there any trends or common concerns? What could be done about correcting problems?


Class discussion

In the United States of America, the number of students choosing to walk to school has fallen more than 60% since 19701. Find a statistic for Australia, that tells how many people walk. Try to find a comparative statistic from several years ago.

Focus questions:


Community initiatives

Many initiatives in the community exist which encourage walking as a sustainable travel option. Research some of the links below to discover what is being done in communities in Australia and overseas.

WWW 1 Wetmore, John Z. Reducing Student Pedestrian Perils.

Pencil Activity 4.2 MP

4.3 Cycling for transport and your health


To appreciate why people choose to cycle for transport and recreation.


Students will be able to:

Activities JUNIOR PRIMARY - 4.3 Learning Activities

Pencil Activity 4.3 JP - Pedal power, not petrol power

Discuss with students the advantages and disadvantages of cycling. Some answers could include:

Advantages Disadvantages
  • good for the environment
  • improves personal fitness
  • fun/stress relieving
  • speed/quickness of travel in congested areas especially
  • inexpensive
  • parking is a lot easier if secure bike racks available
  • opportunity to socialise
  • can be dangerous if the trip means riding on busy roads
  • must own a bike
  • not always as convenient as car travel
  • motorists’ attitudes
  • roads not being properly designed to accommodate cyclists
  • breathing in pollution if cycling on a busy road.

Students discuss the lists. Do they all agree with the statements? They can complete the Activity, listing the advantages and disadvantages that they, as individuals, agree with.

The bicycle

Students draw and label a diagram of a bicycle and name all the parts they can. Ask an older student or an employee in a bicycle shop if they could visit the class, with a bicycle, to answer questions about bikes.

Activities MIDDLE PRIMARY - 4.3 Learning Activities

Pencil Activity 4.3 MP - Pedal power, not petrol power

Students read the cycling information and then make a list of advantages and disadvantages of this form of transport.


A group of students from the class could contact the local council for information on local bike routes and plan a class/school ride, using a similar checklist to the one developed for planning the mystery walk (see 4.2 Walking - Middle Primary).

This could link in with National Heart Week or a TravelSmart awareness day planned by the school.

Students design a bicycle route using a map of their local area as a guide, considering where it would go, how it would be constructed and why it should be developed. Students could map the route, using signs and symbols to show parks, road crossings, railways, bus stops, train stations, schools, toilets, shops, drink stops, rest stops, steep hills, bridges and other features.

Cycling and the Law

Under the Australian Road Rules, bicycles are defined as vehicles and bicycle riders are regulated under the same rules that apply to drivers of motor vehicles. One rule that is different is that students can learn to ride a bike any time and do not have to wear 'L' or 'P' plates - but it is not safe to ride alone on public roads until they are at least 10 years old.

Focus questions:

The class could invite a member of the police force to visit and be interviewed about bicycles and road rules.

Links Section 5 - Resources - 5.1 Thinking and teaching strategies

Another application of design could be to make a track for remote controlled cars. Vehicles could participate under specified race conditions to achieve energy saving goals.

'Wheels' Day'

Plan a day when students travel via wheeled vehicle - including skate boards, roller skates or remote controlled cars.

Activities UPPER PRIMARY - 4.3 Learning Activities

The development of the bicycle

The earliest known design of a bicycle is thought to have been created by Leonardo da Vinci in 1490 - over 400 years ago. Locate an image of this design using a search engine. Is da Vinci's design very different to the bicycles we use today? This is thought by some to be a hoax: see for example

Refer to Section 5 - Resources - 5.2 The development of the motor car and bicycle, to track the ways in which bicycles have changed and improved since 1490.

Bring the timeline up to date with your own ideas and research modern styles of bikes, the materials they are made from and the modifications that have been made for comfort, speed and safety.

Links Section 5 - Resources - 5.2 The development of the motor car and bicycle

The community and bicycles

Many communities are adapting their facilities to make conditions easier for cyclists. Students could design a survey about bicycle facilities and take it to members of their community to complete.

In collating the survey, encourage students to list all the positive comments and make a list of the initiatives that need to be improved, changed or begun.


Some places are reserved just for bicycle riding. This is very good for cyclists but can be frustrating for other people. Develop a Plus Minus Interesting list and debate the topic: 'That special roads should be reserved just for bicycles.'

Bike Ed

Bike Ed is a major initiative in Australia. Access the websites and find out more about this organisation. Can it provide any resources that would be useful to students? How can they be accessed?

WWW Bike Ed


Bicycling has emerged over the last ten years as a popular sport. The World Solar Cycling Challenge and the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under are two events in Australia that are becoming attractive to overseas competitors. Research these events, using the How. When. Where. Why. Who. What question matrix.


Links Section 5 - Resources - 5.1 Thinking and teaching strategies

Cycling and the Law

Under the Australian Road Rules, bicycles are defined as vehicles and bicycle riders are regulated under the same rules that apply to drivers of motor vehicles.

Students could contact the Department of Transport in their state and ask for a copy of a booklet that explains the rules for cyclists, or access their website for information about cyclists and the law.

Caring for your vehicle - your bike

Caring for a bicycle makes it a safer vehicle. Washing, polishing, oiling, repairing, and replacing are all important facets of bicycle care. Students research and develop a procedure for the continuing care of their bicycle - including materials to use and a suggested timeline.


Read about the correct hand signals to use, the rules for riding on footpaths and the penalties that can apply for breaking the law.

Remember … If you are a cyclist - these rules apply to you!

Students present their findings to the class in a creative way.

Activity 4.3 JP

Activity 4.3 MP

4.4 Public transport


To explore types of public transport and the issue of their use and viability as transport options.


Students will be able to:

Activities JUNIOR PRIMARY - 4.4 Learning Activities


Students brainstorm all the things they know about public transport. Focus questions:

Buses, trams and trains

What is the same and what is different about each of these forms of public transport?


Using an area of the school yard, students draw their own street system, with traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, bus stops, train lines and stations, tram lines and stations, bike lanes, walking trails and footpaths.

Using models for cars, public transport vehicles and people, they can develop a game, using road rules and developing understandings about why rules exist.

During the game, organise opportunities for assessment of the street plan - should any features be changed? Have any of the transport users been forgotten in the plan?

Can the street plan be made more attractive?


Access the Tampa Bay website.

What do the images mean in terms of public transport?


Activities MIDDLE PRIMARY - 4.4 Learning Activities

TravelSmart Log

Brainstorm all types of public transport - air, road and water. Extend the brainstorm to consider the scope of these services, how much they cost, how the vehicles are fuelled, how many passengers they can carry at once. Add this information to their TravelSmart Log.

Pencil Activity 4.4 MP - Increasing the use of public transport

Ask students to read the information outlining the advantages of using the bus as a form of public transport and the average waiting times. Students are then asked to answer related questions and to assess their own usage of public transport with a view to making suggestions for increasing bus patronage.

A list of average waiting times has been included in the Activity, for the purpose of introducing the concept of supply and demand in relation to public transport frequency and patronage. Students are asked to comment on why the services in Toronto, Canada are more frequent than those in Adelaide, South Australia. Discuss with students the difference in population resulting in a greater demand for public transport and therefore an increase in the number of services. Urban design can also influence the frequency and number of services. This concept is explored further in Activity 2.6 UP - The spread of cities.

Class discussion

Discuss with students the advantages of catching a bus:

As a part of the discussion, ask students to assess their own travel on public transport. If they are frequent users, discuss the advantages and how they plan for this type of travel. For students who do not use public transport, discuss the factors that inhibit them and what can be done to overcome them.

Planning a bus trip

Discuss with students the importance of planning a journey to ensure that it is successful and timely.

Focus questions:

Pencil Activity 4.4 MP - Local buses

Students can either collect local bus timetables, find contact phone numbers or access a web site of bus services on the Internet to obtain the necessary information. Using the timetables, students answer the guideline questions for planning a public transport journey.

Planning an excursion

Using the planning skills that have been practised, students could plan an excursion for the whole class, using public transport. Submit the plans to a class panel for approval. Use Activity 4.4 MP - Local buses as a guide for the information that will have to be included in the travel plan. Think about including other forms of public transport, such as train or tram, in the plan.

The excursion could be to a local city bus depot, where buses are garaged, serviced and cleaned.

Links Section 5 - Resources - 5.5 Glossary

Pencil Activity 4.4 MP - Find-a-word

Students list all words relevant to the TravelSmart program and create their own Find-a-word activity - including a hidden message.

Activities UPPER PRIMARY - 4.4 Learning Activities

Other forms of public transport

Buses, trams, trains and ferries are traditional forms of public transport. Many new initiatives have been introduced to make public transport more accessible and reliable for people to use.

Free services, like the Central Area Transport Service (CATS) in Perth, Adelaide FREE, the City Circle Tram in Melbourne and The Loop in Brisbane operate in the Central Business Districts of these cities. Their timetables offer frequent services and the stops are well placed.

Using the World Wide Web, access the timetables and maps of some of these systems.

Use this information to develop an argument for using public transport at all times in the city centre, in preference to motor cars.


Sydney's Monorail operates around the city to complement the underground rail system.

What does monorail mean? How does it work? Locate images of the monorail track and carriages.

Public transport and technology

Cities are constantly investigating ways to make public transport better. Recent initiatives in some Australian cities include trialing the use of electric powered buses and buses with bicycle storage facilities, installation of 'talking' bus stops and surveys of public awareness of public transport services.

Watch the television news for a one week period and note any items about transport that are featured. Review the item and present a report about it to your class.

Links Section 5 - Resources - 5.3 Text types


Students discuss and design a new method of public transport. Plan where it is needed, how much it will cost to use, what energy source will fuel it, how many people will be able to travel in one trip, how it will enhance the local environment and be a good resource for the community.

Pencil Activity 4.4 MP

4.5 Spreading the TravelSmart message


To explore different ways of communicating ideas, taking into consideration the appropriateness of the information to the chosen medium and target audience. To develop presentation skills and to be able to objectively evaluate the effectiveness of the presentation.


Students will be able to:


Ask students to paint a mural with illustrations and messages about what they have learned during the TravelSmart unit.

Big book

Create a big book - each student adds a page containing a TravelSmart statement and illustration.


Write a letter to the local government authority, a state government department or industry, highlighting the benefits of using alternative transport options. Include in the letter some possible strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and for solving traffic congestion problems.


Make a video commercial which highlights the positive aspects of using active transport options such as walking, cycling and public transport. Set up a borrowing system so that students can take the video home to show their families. Present the video at a school assembly or contact a local TV station and ask if they would do it.

Street art

Students ask permission of the local government authority to decorate community facilities - bus stops, stobie poles, railway stations - to highlight the benefits of using transport options such as walking, cycling and public transport.


Design posters to promote TravelSmart and display them around the school, in local businesses and community areas.


Write a play about the harmful effects of the car on our environment and what we can do to reduce our dependence on motor cars. Perform the play to parents, friends and local community groups.


Approach the local radio station and ask if students could be interviewed about being TravelSmart as part of a community news segment. Make sure that the broadcast time is advertised in the school newsletter.


Invite students at another school to join a debate. Some TravelSmart topics are

School newsletter

Contribute a regular TravelSmart column to the school newsletter, detailing recent activities and initiatives that have taken place in the school.


Encourage students to approach the school's governing council or parents' club and ask if they can speak about TravelSmart initiatives at a meeting.


Prepare an article about the school's TravelSmart initiatives for the local newspaper. Ask a reporter to visit the school, interview students and take photographs to spread the message.

B-Bop Day

B-Bop Day is a day when students (and families) are encouraged to use energy efficiently, consider environmentally friendly transport alternatives and decrease dependence on single occupant vehicle transport.


Bike, Bus or Pool

Commuter Buddies

Students advertise to find a 'walk or ride buddy' by posting requests on the school's intranet, notice board or newsletter. They can design an appropriate form, advertising for a walk or ride buddy to travel to and from school with.

Travel rally

Students work in teams to design and implement a transportation plan for getting to a series of locations in the area by using alternative forms of transport.

Green Grand Prix

Students organise a local push cart event. They design a human powered vehicle and participate in an organised endurance event in the local area. Other schools could be invited to compete.


To advertise a TravelSmart initiative in the school, students could organise a display of T-shirt, banner or flag designs - to spread the TravelSmart message.

World Environment Day

June 5th each year is World Environment Day. This could be a good date for TravelSmart presentations and to advertise the school's participation in a global event.