Currently just 53 per cent of children in England walk to school (National Travel Survey), 42 per cent in Wales (Walking and cycling in Wales: Active travel, 2016-17) and Scotland (Hands Up Scotland Survey, Scotland: 2016 (Sustrans). This is down significantly from a generation ago, when 70 per cent of children used to walk to school.
Living Streets currently works in over 2,000 schools across the UK to successfully increase the number of children walking to school through WOW – the year-round walk to school challenge. WOW schools walk to school rates increase by 23 per cent on average with a corresponding drop in cars around the school gates.
As well as cars, parents identified poor street design and crossings as annoying factors of the school run.
Living Streets Moortown is a local group for Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking.
Living Streets is calling for new measures to reduce the number of cars on the school run. This comes after research (YouGov 2018) released by the charity for the start of International Walk to School Month, reveals that too many cars are the things parents find most annoying on the school run – specifically too many cars around school gates (54%); cars parking on the pavements (50%); and too much traffic on the journey (45%).
Living Streets is calling for more local authorities to pilot school street closures - prohibiting cars from the school gates at drop off and pick up times, alongside a series of other measures, to encourage more families to walk to school.
Aisha Hannibal, Engagement Manager, Living Streets said:
“Piloting closing streets to cars outside schools at the start and end of the school day is a great way to improve the safety of our children’s walk to school. It removes issues of unsafe parking, speeding traffic and helps to reduce the toxic air which stays around our children’s schools long after the cars have left.
“We need to see many more measures which make it possible for families to walk to school: lower speed limits, better crossings, constraints on pavement parking. It’s fantastic to see this group taking action to improve their local streets; we hope they inspire others to do the same.”