With the rapid economic development of Ho Chi Minh City, we have also seen a growth in the number of cars on the road. As a school, we acknowledge that traffic is an issue around An Phu and over the past few years have addressed this with a variety of successful methods that look at the following two components:
- How we can improve the flow of the traffic
- How we can reduce the number of vehicles on the road
This is, first and foremost a safety precaution and has prevented motorcycles and scooters mounting the pavements around the An Phu Campuses to ensure the safety of you and your child.
Central Barriers/Pedestrian Crossing Barriers
We initiated the development of the barriers along a stretch of Nguyen Van Huong with the People’s Party. The idea of this was to discourage cars from making a U-Turn opposite Gates A and B of the Primary Campus. This has been a particularly successful development in terms of assisting the flow of traffic directly outside the Primary and Secondary Campuses.
Limiting Pedestrian Crossing with Increased Bridge Use
Secondary students are no longer permitted to cross the road between the Primary and Secondary campus. They instead have to walk over the bridge which prevents the traffic having to stop to let them cross.
New Bus Policy
We have introduced a new bus policy whereby all Secondary students now get dropped off from Gate C of the Primary Campus, where there is a designated pull-in area. Primary children walk straight into campus and Secondary students utilise the bridge. This prevents the need for a second stop at the Secondary Campus, thereby increasing the flow of traffic. We have noticed that the changes made to our bus arrangements continue to reduce congestion around Gate A and the lateness records in the mornings have dramatically improved as children are no longer waiting in the traffic.
Stop, Drop and Go
This idea originally came from Mr Battersby over at the TX Campus. Prior to this policy, we used to see many cars parked along Nguyen Van Huong between Gates A and B, which halted the flow of traffic. ‘Stop, Drop and Go’ asks drivers to take a maximum of 15 seconds to drop off their child, preferably at Gates B or C which are under-utilised, the child can walk straight into school and the driver can move on. Since implementing this policy at the An Phu campuses we have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of cars parked along this stretch of road, thereby increasing the flow of the traffic.
Increased Visibility – Senior Leaders and Police
You will often see our Senior Leaders at the Gates working alongside our 4 police officers that are contracted by the school. We work together to prevent drivers stopping where they shouldn’t and U-turning during restricted hours.
Terrace Café/Morning Clubs/Library Opening Hours
We have also put a number of activities in place that means the time that children are being dropped off or picked up is slightly altered, reducing the number of cars at peak times.
At An Phu Primary we have a coffee shop which is open in both the mornings and the afternoons around drop off and pick up times, where parents are welcome to relax in school until the traffic has calmed. We have also introduced morning clubs so children can be dropped at school earlier when the traffic is quieter. In the afternoons, the library is open until 4:00pm so parents are able to read with their children in the library, again until the traffic has reduced.
We have invited Health and Safety officers into the school to look at the traffic situation and suggest areas of improvement. The last officer that attended the Campus commented, “you’re doing everything you can, you can’t do anymore” which highlights the great lengths we’ve already gone to, to improve the traffic flow. We must also continue to remember that we are a busy school and there is inevitably going to be increased levels of traffic at certain times of the day.
Implementing a Driver’s Code of Conduct
Our primary aim is to encourage parents and driver to make these guidelines a natural part of our culture. This is the reason we clearly outline our Driver’s Code of Conduct in the Head Teacher’s weekly update in both English and Vietnamese and we encourage parents to spend a few minutes of their time discussing the following points with their drivers:
- Never stop on or near to a pedestrian crossing – in order to ensure that our families can cross the road safely, please instruct your driver to park as far away from the main gates as possible to avoid congestion. Try walking a short distance to keep cars down to a minimum.
- No cars should be parked for long periods of time outside of school – ask your driver to meet you at a convenient location away from the school gates and please ask them to never double park as this stops the flow of traffic at peak times.
- Stop, drop and go – take a maximum of 15 seconds to drop off your child and they can walk into school. Try it as it will speed up your journey and that of others too.
- Never U Turn along the stretch of road outside both APP and APS – tell your driver to drive away from school and if they have to U Turn, please do so on the wider, less congested roads. Try the route past AP1 along Nguyen Van Huong, as an alternative way to get home – it may take a few extra minutes driving but it will save the time you spend in traffic.
- Ask your driver to show respect to our guards and follow their instructions – they are there to keep you all safe and have a difficult job when drivers ignore their instructions.
- Explain to your driver that their actions reflect upon your family – ask them to respect all of our school community to make our school the very best that it can be.
New Early Years and Infant Campus
There are a number of ways in which we will continue to improve congestion when the New Early Years and Infant Campus opens:
School Day - Start and Finish Times
We have set the start and finish times of the 3 campuses so that there is time to move between each campus and get your children to school on time:
BIS Early Years and Infants Campus
BIS Junior Campus
BIS Secondary Campus
This will assist those of you who have children at more than one campus and will provide a natural flow of traffic between the different sites. With the provision of morning clubs and staff on duty from 7:30am at the Junior Campus, you are also able to drop your children off earlier, allowing more time to move to the EY&I campus for a 7:45am start which should mean that peak traffic times are avoided.
From January, we will have a brand new ‘bus club’ available at the Early Years and Infant Campus. The bus system we mentioned earlier, leaves An Phu Primary at 3:00pm and will arrive at EY&I at 3:05pm. This of course means there is a short window of 45 minutes where the children at EY&I will be required to wait for the bus once the school day finishes. We have therefore organised a dedicated ‘bus club’ in the Early Learning Centre to supervise the children whilst they wait for their bus.
Coffee Shop at the New Campus
We will have a designated parent area and coffee shop at the New Early Years and Infant Campus which for the same reason as the coffee shop at An Phu Primary, should help to ease the traffic at certain times of the day. It’s also a great opportunity to socialise with other BIS HCMC parents and teachers.
As you can see, our entire school community have been working extremely hard to ease the traffic congestion in An Phu. We have been extremely pleased by the positive reactions of support that we have received from parents, drivers and local residents so far.
With the new Early Years and Infant Campus, it’s essential that we continue to work in partnership, using the methods above, to manage the flow of traffic. However, the biggest way to ease traffic congestion is to minimise the number of vehicles on the road. This is where we need your help!
BIS HCMC Carpool Karaoke Campaign
Carpooling is the single best method of reducing the number of vehicles near our campuses. Talk with parents that live close by to you and arrange to share lifts to and from school.
Once you have found others to share the car journey with and to make this a little more fun, we ask that you put your favourite song on and film or photograph yourselves singing along in your very own ‘Carpool Karaoke’. Then post it on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook and hashtag #BISHCMC to share with the BIS Community.
To get us started, Head Teacher’s of our two Primary Campuses, Mr Ian Battersby and Mr Simon Higham have recorded their very own Carpool Karaoke, that we promise will put a smile on your face:
It’s important we understand that we all have our part to play in helping the traffic flow in Thao Dien and if we can do that in a fun and inspiring way, then why not!
We look forward to seeing your videos!