Active travel to Scottish schools remains at pandemic levels

New research suggests the percentage of school pupils travelling actively to school in the year 2021 stayed at similar levels seen during 2020.

New data from Sustrans’ Hands Up Scotland Survey looked at children walking, cycling, scootering or skating to school.

In the survey funded by Transport Scotland, 50.3% of school pupils asked said they normally travel to school in an active way, without any form of motorised transport.

This is down from the high of 51.2% in 2021, but still notably higher than pre-pandemic levels of 47.8% in 2019.

Walking is still by far the most common way school pupils get to school. Although there has been a decrease from the 44.8% in 2020 to 43.6% in 2021, it remains up on the 2019 low of 41%.

The number of school pupils cycling to school continues to rise, up from 3.8% in 2020 to 4.0% in 2021.

And the number of school pupils who normally scooter or skate has also seen a small rise from 2.6% in 2020 to 2.7% in 2021.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Cecilia Oram, Head of Programme, Behaviour Change, Sustrans Scotland, said:

“It’s hugely encouraging to see that active travel to school has remained close to the high levels seen during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The walking, cycling, scootering, and skating habits developing during the pandemic seem to be sticking, however, we won’t really know to what extent until we gather the data over the next few years.

“Looking ahead it will be interesting to see the impacts of the Access to Bikes initiative, free bus travel for under 22-year-olds and the record increase in funding for active travel.”

(Picture – Sustrans)


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