Dangerous peak-hour traffic snarls could be eased thanks to enterprising Stuartholme School students who have used smart mapping technology to study congestion hot spots.

The Year 12 geography students surveyed parent drivers and mapped pick up congestion hot spots around Lambert Road, Indooroopilly.

The project is part of geospatial technology giant Esri Australia’s $100 million GIS for Schools program, which provides Australian educators with free access to the company’s world-leading software ArcGIS.

Stuartholme senior Amy Scott said the survey results helped her view problem traffic sites from a digital map perspective and interpret the data more carefully.

“Almost everyone we surveyed said they sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic and experienced major delays during peak school pick-up times from about 2pm until 4.30pm,” Amy said.

“With four schools in the area and Stuartholme nearby, this is not just a matter of inconvenience, it’s a safety issue as well.”

Amy’s classmate Sarah Long investigated hold-ups at the nearby Kenmore round-about.

“I actually couldn’t believe how many near-misses I saw – either between cars, cyclists or even pedestrians,” Sarah said.

After mapping their traffic data using GIS, the students observed patterns and developed potential solutions, such as staggered pick-up times for schools in the area and a student footbridge over Lambert Road.

With Brisbane City Council to spend a billion dollars on fixing roads in the current budget, the students plan to report their traffic findings to Lord Mayor Graham Quirk. 

Esri Australia Managing Director Brett Bundock said it was inspiring to see Stuartholme’s students using GIS to tackle real-life problems that occur in all big cities.

“By the time these students enter the workforce, an understanding of smart mapping will be essential,” Mr Bundock said. 

“As industry leaders, we want to ensure current generations are equipped with the skills and knowledge to thrive and overcome future challenges.”

Mr Bundock said the GIS in Schools program would give students a deeper understanding of spatial sciences through a range of ready-to-go projects linked to school curriculums.

“They can visualise and analyse multiple datasets simultaneously to deliver evidence to support potential solutions – just as professionals would,” Mr Bundock said.

“GIS is a technology of the future. From designing cities to fighting crime to managing construction and roadworks, millions of Australians already work with it every day.”

Stuartholme School geography teacher Sarah Adams said students learned how to use the ArcGIS technology in just one lesson.

“The students were really switched on and able to help each other collect data and interpret their maps,” Mrs Adams said.

“The girls came up with some really good solutions to these transport problems -  thanks to the meaningful maps they produced.”

Amy said the project had inspired her to study GIS technology at university, while Sarah said she hoped to one day undertake community development with the United Nations.

“Geography has given me a passion for sustainability,” Sarah said. “I loved using GIS and other digital tools to get real-world data and actually try to solve these big issues in our community.”

To find out more about Esri Australia’s GIS for Schools program, visit: esriaustralia.com.au/gis-for-schools

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