Sustainable Travel Facts

25% of all car journeys in Britain are under 2 miles, that’s about a 30 minute walk or a 12 minute bike ride.
59% are less than five miles. (DTLR Transport Statistics)

Pollution levels inside a car can be up to three times higher than levels which cyclists and walkers are exposed to. (Road Users Exposure to Air Pollution: Institute for European Environmental Policy/ Environmental Policy/Environmental Transport Association 1997)

One six year old in ten is now obese and 20% of 15 year olds are obese.. Walking to school and walking up stairs are ways of putting activity back into our lives. (Health development Agency 2003)

A 30 minutes of walking or cycling can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by over half, diabetes in adulthood by 50%, obesity by 50%, hypertension by 30%.

Children who walk and cycle to school regularly are less at risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and osteoporosis when they are older. But 4 out of every 10 boys and 6 out of every 10 girls are active for less than one hour a day.

The decline in walking to school has coincided with a rise in childhood obesity, with the proportion of overweight children increasing by 7%between 1996 and 2004.
(Travelling to School: DfES and DFT Report 2004)

Trends in travelling to school in the UK

  • During the rush hour 1 in 5 cars are on the school run.
  • Parents in the UK drive an average of 600 miles a year for the school run,  costing over £300 a year in fuel costs and wear and tear on the car.
  • In 1971 most 7 year olds made their own way to school unaccompanied and usually on foot. Nowadays 79% of 7-10 year olds are accompanied.
  • Between 1993 and 2004 the proportion of primary school children being driven to school rose from 29% to 41%. In secondary schools over the last ten years there has been a 60% increase in the number of children being driven to school.
  • Each day about 8.3 million school children are involved in the school run.
  • Nationally about 50% of journeys to school are by foot, 25% are by car, 20%by bus and 5% by other means, including bicycles.
  • 31% of children would like to travel to school by bike.
  • The average British child travels 5000 miles a year by car.
  • 39% of households own at least one bike yet only 5% of journeys are by bicycle.

Dropping the children off on the way to work

  • Research for The National Travel Survey 2004 found that 60% of all journeys by women taking children to school and 57% of those by men returned straight home afterwards.
  • Only 17% of all morning escort trips to school were followed by a trip to work or business.
  • Driving to school causes congestion at the school gate. Even if you do go on to work afterwards, you are still contributing to the problem. Why not set off a little earlier and enjoy a walk to school with your children.
  • Many people believe that their children are safer being driven to school. Much of the danger is perceived rather than real. Walking or cycling to school will improve your child’s road safety skills, in preparation for independent travel later on, keep them fit and healthy and establish good habits for adult life.

Walking, cycling and academic achievement:

A simple way to help children make progress

  • Recent research from California suggests that children who walk or cycle to school arrive more alert and ready to learn and thus achieve better academic results.
  • 9 out of 10 teachers in a Department for Transport survey found that the walk to school made children brighter, more alert and ready for the first class of the day.

Personal safety:

Are they really safer in the car?

  • There has been a rise in parental concern about personal safety in recent years, and many parents believe that children are safer travelling to school by car. Yet research shows that the chances of being killed in a road traffic accident are 40 times greater than the risk of being abducted.
  • Encouraging independent journeys to school is part of fostering independence and self-reliance in children. Once they know the route well and are confident enough, encourage your child to walk with other children or on their own.


Car fumes are bad for us

  • Car passengers in slow-moving traffic face pollution levels inside a car three times higher than those experienced by pedestrians.
  • Emissions of the most noxious air pollutants arising from road traffic should be about half present levels by 2010, largely because of improvements in vehicle technology and fuel quality. But on current projections, the trend will reverse beyond 2010 as these improvements are offset by traffic growth.
  • Vehicles make a significant contribution to local air pollution. The deaths of between 12,000 and 24,000 vulnerable people may be brought forward each year; and between 14,000 and 24,000 hospital admissions and readmissions may also result from poor air quality.

Asthma is on the increase

  • Asthma is the most common chronic disease of childhood and it is on the increase in developed countries. One in eight children in the UK are being treated for asthma.
  • A Nottingham survey found that secondary school children living within 30 metres of an A or B road are twice as likely to wheeze as children living 120 metres away from a main road.

Physical activity

  • 30% of boys and 39% of girls do not achieve the recommended level of
    physical activity.
  • All young people should participate in physical activity of at least moderate intensity for one hour per day.
  • A Hertfordshire study showed that Year 8 pupils walking the school journey each day used more calories than during the 2 hours of PE they receive each week.

We are getting more overweight

  • About one in 20 boys (5.5%) and about one in 15 girls (7.2%) aged 2-15 in England were obese in 2002, according to the International classification. Overall, over one in five boys (21.8%) and over one in four girls (27.5%) were either overweight or obese. Changing the way we travel to and from school is a great way to improve our overall fitness and health.



Click here to open this page in Word

Home Pupils Parents Teachers Links Contact Us © School Magic Ltd 2011