One of the key factors of the success of the STHC process is that the same STHC spatial analysis data can be used:-
- by many different stakeholders with an interest in how our children travel to school and how far they have to travel to get there
- local transport planners, school transport managers, sustainable travel coordinators, school estate planners & managers, child health professionals etc., as well as the individual school communities
- the pupils themselves, their parents & carers and the teaching staff and management team.
- at both a strategic level to inform future planning of services & infrastructure, and an operational level to inform day-to-day targeting, prioritising & scheduling of professional resources, as well as educational activities
- as a starting point for further analysis at the local level

This is because by carrying out the analysis and reporting the results in a clear, transparent and consistent way, the STHC makes it possible to compare "apples with apples", whether these "apples" be local authorities, schools or pupils of a particular type, or individual schools.
By "slicing and dicing" the analysis results appropriately and presenting them as a very comprehensive suite of robust, flexible, interactive information resources in standard formats such as Excel spreadsheets and MapInfo GIS files, all the stakeholders can get the perspective on it they need. As everybody is then "singing from the same hymn sheet", it is then possible for all to enter into an informed debate around the issues of active and suatainable travel to school and what can be done to make more of it happen on their patch!

The main purpose of all this analysis however is not just to be clever for the sake of it, but to provide local authorities and school communities with quantitative, spatial intelligence data that will allow them to actually do something about making things better. The STHC analysis output gives them the ability to assess:-

  • The overall scale of the "school run" problem when compared with other LEAs or schools (the straightforward nature of the spatial analysis - "as-the-crow-fles" - and the fact that we have results at an individual pupil level which can then be aggregated by any criteria required, means that it is easy to compare "apples with apples"!).
  • Where quick wins can be made in the short term (eg. running awareness campaigns in schools with the most number of pupils coming by car from within the walk threshold to highlight the merits of walking or cycling).
  • Where pupils from a further distance could most easily be persuaded to walk or cycle in the medium term, perhaps once physical infrastructure has been put in place (eg. a footbridge bridge over a railway line or other barrier may suddenly make cycling / walking a viable option for pupils in a particular location that otherwise have to go by car due to the current journey distance / time).
  • How well schools are currently situated to serve the current distribution of pupils, and where strategic changes could be made to reduce the overall total “pupil miles” travelled in the LEA over the longer term.

By monitoring how much these variables change over time stakeholders will be able to set SMART (Sustainable, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound) targets to work towards in the short, medium and long term, and then quantifiably assess how well their initiatives are working. The same STHC monitoring data will also provide an evidence base to assist stakeholders in securing funding for carrying on successful school travel initiatives into the future.