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Government wants to cut number of parents driving children to and from school

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A national software database will be set up to tackle traffic jams on the school run, the government said yesterday. Schools minister Charles Clarke announced the £200,000 scheme to trim the number of kids ferried to school by private car every day. This will effect over one million children in Britain, and 20 per cent of rush-hour traffic. Parents' postcodes will be used to compile a car-pool database, Clarke said at yesterday's New Deal for Transport Conference. The government will also develop safer routes to school and set up the School Travel Advisory Group (STAG) to promote initiatives such as cycle and pedestrian paths. Children could even be escorted to school holding hands in crocodile formation. London-based companies Sustrans and Young Transnet are developing the software. He told the conference that there were safer, healthier and cheaper ways of getting to school than by car. "Many parents rely on the school run because they are worried that too often the right alternatives are not there," said Clarke. "Parents, schools, the education service and transport operators need to work together to develop safer routes to school." ®

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