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More children cycling and walking, survey finds

After many years, the trend of children being driven to school instead of cycling or walking has been reversed – in Scotland, at least.

A recent survey carried out by Sustrans polled 400,000 Scots schoolchildren and found that more than half of them used ‘active’ means of getting to school.

Almost 48 per cent, however, were driven or took the bus for all or part of their journey.

The ‘Hands Up’ survey was carried out by a network of school travel co-ordinators based within 29 of Scotland's 32 local authorities, and will be undertaken on an annual basis.

It indicated that 2.8% of pupils cycled to work, with 48.3% walking. In comparison, 27.6% were driven by car and 18.7% took a bus.

The survey also found that where money is spent on making walking and cycling safer or easier, the number of children walking and cycling increases.

The results of the survey were released as Sustrans published the end of year report for its Tackling the School Run programme of projects aimed at encouraging cycling and walking at 103 schools across Scotland.

Sustrans was given £3.8m of funding by the Scottish Government in 2007/08 to deliver practical measures, such as cycle paths and cycle storage facilities for schools, as well as education campaigns for school children and their teachers.

William Methven, Sustrans' manager for school travel in Scotland, said: "The results from our Tackling the School Run programme and the Hands Up survey are very encouraging.

"We are pleased to see that the work we have been doing in partnership with school travel coordinators and the Scottish Government is having a positive impact on the way Scottish school children are travelling.

"It is now very clear that, where money is spent on making walking and cycling safer or easier, the number of children walking and cycling increases."