Every child should be able to walk to school safely, and enjoy the fresh air, freedom, friendship and fun that it brings.
A generation ago, 70 per cent of children walked to school.
Now, just 44 per cent for children in Wales travel to school actively – either walking, wheeling, cycling or scooting.
However, schools taking part in WOW – Living Streets’ walk to school challenge - are seeing this decline reversed.
In Cardiff, dozens of schools have joined the scheme, as well as the council's existing active travel project. It's resulted in some big changes!
WOW is our year-round walk to school challenge.
Pupils report how they get to school on our interactive WOW Travel Tracker. Those who walk, wheel, cycle or scoot at least once a week for a month are awarded a WOW badge.
Walk to school rates in WOW schools increase by 23 per cent on average with a 30 per cent drop in cars at the school gates.
Cardiff Council piloted the WOW scheme in five schools in April 2021, and in the September it launched an expansion to over 35 more.
Before starting WOW, 57% of children in these schools were travelling actively to school.
Since September, over 78% of pupils are now travelling actively, an increase of over 21%!
Cardiff is now the top local authority in Wales to deliver the scheme and one of the UK’s top participating cities.
The scheme is supported with Welsh Government funding for one academic year.
One of the Cardiff schools that's made some big changes is St Patrick's School in Grangetown, an inner city suburb.
The council discussed active travel with the school, took a look at nearby streets, and ran a survey of pupil's families. Pupils on the school council got involved, contributing ideas, and becoming the 'driving force' of the plan.
At the beginning of the project, pupils and their families faced several barriers.
St Patricks was also given a fleet of 30 bikes and 10 balance bikes with a shipping container for storage, as well as a miniature road area for children to practice their road awareness, cycling and scooting skills.
The school launched its WOW programme with lessons on active travel and themed assemblies. It also invited families to bring bikes and scooters to school, and all children have tried out the miniature road markings.
Before introducing WOW, St Patrick's had an active travel rate of 51%. That's now increased to an amazing 81%!
As a mark of their incredible progress, the school were recently invited to Downing Street as part of the COP26 children's press conference with Sky News. They asked the Prime Minister challenging questions on climate change and explained the success of their WOW scheme.
Our 90 year history as the voice for pedestrians has made us experts on liveable neighbourhoods.
We have a range of services – both advisory and consultative - which help make places for people, and we help local authorities create more walkable streets.