Who can walk or bike the most up and down from Napier Hill?
The question will be answered as part of "active transport campaigns" which are kicking off in two Napier Hill high schools - Napier Girls' High and Sacred Heart College - as part of Waka Kotahi's Innovating Streets fund.
The campaign involves house competitions where students gain points each time they record an active journey to school.
India Essuah, research assistant at FOLKL who has been working on the "active transport campaign", said as part of the Innovating Streets fund, Napier City Council (NCC) was awarded funding.
The funding was to encourage students to walk (or bike) to Napier Girls' High or Sacred Heart College, calm traffic and make safety changes to key intersections.
Last year Waka Kotahi awarded the council just over $400,000 to help provide safe routes to schools and the measures were part of the project.
"Innovating Streets is driven by the concept of Tactical Urbanism, which focuses on making public spaces safer, more vibrant and more people-friendly," Essuah said.
"This involves low-cost, temporary changes to test and assess which interventions should be implemented permanently.
"FOLKL was engaged by NCC to collect qualitative and quantitative data to inform which changes would be most effective for the area, with final decision-making led by NCC."
The data collection took place between October and December 2020 and involved a range of methods, including school workshops, staff interviews, and digital observation/trajectory mapping of road users and pedestrians during peak morning and afternoon times, she said.
"The research found that very few students felt safe crossing the road at key intersections, and that this was a stressful experience, often involving 'close calls' with cars," Essuah said.
"Students felt very 'on edge', sometimes it would take them up to 20 minutes to cross the road at intersections.
"This was supported by data which found that hourly top speeds consistently ranged between 80km/h and 100km/h, despite these roads being in a 50km/h zone.
"The average speed of motorists was over the speed limit, at 57km/h. A top speed of 115km/h was also recorded, while cars frequently undertook unpredictable manoeuvres near groups of pedestrians."
She said the students' enthusiasm throughout the research process led to the recommendation that they be supported to design and lead active transport campaigns within their schools.
"The campaigns are kicking off now thanks to over 50 passionate students who have come on board across Napier Girls' High School and Sacred Heart College," Essuah said.
"The aim is to encourage students to walk, or be dropped further from school [such as at the base of the Napier Hill] and complete the journey on foot."
The NCC transport team has previously said speed cushions were being installed in Shakespeare Rd and a raised courtesy crossing would be installed on Milton Rd as part of the Innovating Streets project, to make the area safer for students to use "active modes of transport to go to school".
The speed bumps proved controversial, with former NCC engineer Clive Squire saying if the aim was to reduce speeding, "the cure is worse than the affliction".
"The way these humps are constructed makes driving unpleasant and because they are easy to install, they are put in at short intervals," he said.
"I suggest councillors take a drive on the seaward side of Shakespeare Rd to feel the full effect."
This week Sacred Heart began signing people up to the house competition, gathering information to measure its effectiveness and informing the community, and the same is set to happen at Napier Girls' High School next week.