Over half of Scottish pupils choosing active travel to school

A group of schoolchildren walking through a leafy playground
29 May 2015

A survey of over half a million school children across Scotland shows over 50% of pupils choosing active travel – walking, cycling, scooting or skating – for their school commute.

The Hands Up Scotland Survey 2014, carried out by Sustrans Scotland in partnership with all 32 Scottish local authorities and funded by Transport Scotland, recorded that over 50% of pupils were travelling actively to school, with slight increases in scooting to school and more children taking part in park and stride.

Over half a million children from 2,052 schools and 539 nurseries took part in the survey, making it the biggest ever. With an additional 20,000 pupils taking part in 2014, results found that an extra 10,634 children walked, cycled or scooted to school compared with 2013.

Commenting, National Director of Sustrans Scotland, John Lauder said:

“It’s great to see over half of our children choosing to travel to school actively. Encouraging active travel from a young age means Scotland’s children are more likely to develop good habits that will be continued later in life. This is good news as the evidence shows that increased physical activity can help us lead healthier – and happier – lives.

“With over half a million children surveyed, this is the biggest ever Hands Up Scotland Survey. As the numbers taking part increases year on year, we’re able to get a clearer picture of how Scotland’s children are travelling to and from school.”

Transport Minister, Derek Mackay said:

“I welcome this evidence that over 50% of children continue to travel actively to school. We want to see this increase over the coming years to help meet physical activity levels and meet our ambitions for cycling and walking.

“In the coming weeks, additional Commonwealth Games Legacy cycle stands will be installed in schools across the country in Aberdeen, Angus, Argyll & Bute, Dundee, West Lothian and South Ayrshire encouraging more children to travel actively to school as part of the legacy of the games.

“In this year of record levels of Scottish Government investment in cycling - £200,000 will be available for school cycle parking. By working in partnership with schools and local authorities, I am confident we can achieve higher levels of active travel in the future.”