Walking to school at its lowest for at least eight years

The proportion of Scottish pupils walking to school is at its lowest for at least eight years, a survey by cycling group Sustrans showed today.

Thursday, 25th May 2017, 2:44 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:20 pm
Cycling to school is is on the increase but fewer pupils are walking. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The annual Hands Up Scotland poll found 42.9 per cent walked last year compared to 45.8 per cent in 2010 and 48.3 per cent in the first survey in 2008.

Those travelling by bus declined to the lowest level, from 18.2 per cent in 2010 to 16.7 per cent.

However, cycling has increased from 2.8 per cent to 3.5 per cent.

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Scooting or skating also went up, from 0.7 per cent to 2.8 per cent.

But such "active travel" fell overall for the second year, by 0.5 percentage points to 49.2 per cent.

The numbers being driven to school by car or taxi increased for the third year to 24.2 per cent, but it is largely unchanged on 2008.

However, there has been an increase in pupils being driven part of the way and walking the rest - or "park and stride" - to 9.3 per cent from 7.4 per cent in 2008.

More than 450,000 children - nearly two in three state school pupils - took part in the survey last September, which covered three in four state schools.

Sustrans Scotland national director John Lauder said: “The survey is crucial in helping local authorities and partners to build a more accurate picture of how Scotland’s children are choosing to travel to and from school, and helps to pinpoint areas where more work can be done.

“Research has shown that increased physical activity can help us lead healthier – and happier – lives.

“By encouraging young people to travel actively for their journey to school, we can ensure Scotland’s children develop healthier travel habits that will be continued later in life.”