A survey of almost half a million school children across Scotland has shown that half of them are getting to school actively. In the largest survey of its kind, children were asked how they normally travel to school each day. The results show that walking is by far the most common method of travelling to school, with cycling, scooting and skating also becoming increasingly popular.
The results are from the 2013 Hands Up Scotland Survey, which is funded byTransport Scotland and coordinated and published by Sustrans Scotland. Over 467,000 children from 2,017 schools and 540 nurseries took part in the 2013 survey from all 32 local authorities in Scotland.
John Lauder, National Director of Sustrans Scotland, explains more:
“The number of children taking part in the survey has been increasing year on year and this allows us to get an ever clearer picture of how our young people are getting to and from school on a daily basis. The 2013 survey saw the largest number of responses to date.
“It is fantastic to see that half of our young people are traveling to school actively – on foot, by bike, by scooter or by skating. Encouraging active travel habits at an early age is vital and will set children up to lead healthy, active lives in the future. Walking, cycling, scooting and skating are all fun ways to get to school each day. Furthermore, making the school journey actively builds in exercise to a child’s daily routine. We are particularly pleased to see that the number of primary school children cycling to school has been steadily increasing year on year since the survey began.
“We are also seeing a downwards trend in the number of children being driven to school, which is extremely positive. Research shows that children who travel to school actively arrive refreshed and ready to learn. Therefore, we want to see as many of them as possible getting to school under their own steam. It really is the best way to start the day.”
“I am encouraged that this year’s Hands Up Scotland Survey demonstrates that walking, cycling, scooting and skating are the preferred methods of travel to school. We aim to get more people and children making active travel choices for their daily routines wherever possible, to improve health and the environment.
“The Scottish Government welcomes the increase in cycling to school and is continuing to invest in cycling at record levels. In 2014/15, we will invest over £32m in infrastructure, road safety and educational campaigns. Our top priority in the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland 2013, remains to teach our young people to be safe on the roads and create high levels of driver awareness of young cyclists to make the roads around schools more cycle-friendly.
“The decrease in car use is reassuring as we work towards our carbon reduction targets. Again, we will continue to promote the use of active travel in order to reduce harmful emissions.”
Sustrans Scotland, 30th May 2014