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Getting the walking route between your home or the bus pick up point and your designated transport area or nearest school assessed

Making a requestWhat happens nextHow routes are assessedDownloads

Making a request

Travel assistance is provided to children who attend their designated transport area or nearest school and live more than the statutory walking distance from that school. The statutory walking distance is

  • 2 miles for children aged under 8
  • 3 miles for children aged 8 and over

If you live within the statutory walking distance of the school, it is your parental responsibility to make sure your child attends school.

If you feel the shortest available walking route between your child’s home or the bus pick up point and your designated transport area or nearest school is unsuitable, you have the right to request that the route is assessed.

Please use the form below to apply for a route assessment. This form must be completed by the child’s parents or a registered carer.

Apply for route assessment

This form has 5 pages and will take approximately 4 minutes to complete.

We measure the shortest available walking route from a child’s home address to school and use this measurement to assess each child’s eligibility for school transport. The measured statutory walking distance must be a route, which a child accompanied as necessary, can walk to school with reasonable safety.

Please note that if a route is deemed to be unsuitable to walk accompanied as necessary then we will look to see if there is an alternative route available within statutory walking distance of your home address. If you know of an alternative route and feel that this also has possible sections or features that cause you specific concern, then it is your responsibility to request that this route is also assessed, and details should be included on your application form.

We will contact you to confirm we have received your application, with the date you will be told the outcome by. It can take up to 8 weeks for you to be informed of the outcome of your route assessment.

How routes are assessed

Walking routes are assessed against the following criteria:

  • that the child will be accompanied
  • road width, visibility and the severity of bends
  • existence of ‘safe refuge’ – this means footpaths and verges, road markings at the side of the road
  • the volume of traffic at the relevant time of day
  • the type of traffic and its speed
  • difficulty of road crossings
  • nature of road (urban or rural) and driver expectation
  • the presence or absence of speed limits and other warning signs
  • the accident record along the route

We take into account a range of factors, the fact that there is a high volume of fast-moving traffic is not in itself a reason to assess a route as unsuitable – there may be a footpath and good crossing points along the route that would mean it is safe.

Similarly, the lack of a footpath or verge would not be a reason to assess a route as unsuitable if there was, for instance, a very low volume of traffic and good visibility.

We do not take the following into account:

  • your individual circumstances, for instance, your personal availability to walk with your child or the fact that younger children or prams may impede you
  • parental finances
  • local weather conditions
  • unusual events – such as road closures, construction work, flooding
  • lack of street lighting – the majority of roads in Somerset do not have streetlights and lighting is not an issue all year round
  • lack of pavements – the lack of a paved footpath is not necessarily a reason to assess a route as unsuitable
  • the presence of uncut hedges
  • difficult terrain and arduousness of the route – steep hills are not a hazard
  • practicality or the time taken to walk the route.

If you wish to appeal against the decision that the route is suitable to walk accompanied as necessary, details of how to do this will be included in your outcome letter.

Last reviewed: February 20, 2024 by Helly

Next review due: August 20, 2024

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