Published: 17th NOVEMBER 2021

Active School Travel in Northern Ireland

The Active School Travel Programme is an exciting initiative for schools who wish to see more of their pupils choosing an active and healthy journey to school.

Mum Ajibike walking holding handing of brother and sister Dara and Timara as she collects them from school

Our Active School Travel programme

We have been delivering the Active School Travel Programme across Northern Ireland since 2013, with funding from the Department for Infrastructure and the Public Health Agency. We have worked with over 400 schools across the country.

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Active school travel has been a great way to increase children’s physical activity levels. The Sustrans Active Travel Officer has been great in helping to co-ordinate a range of activities, events and curriculum lessons. It is based on a whole family approach to ensure that parents and carers ‘buy in’ to the initiative. Blockquote quotation marks
Teacher from participating school

Increasing the number of children who regularly walk, cycle or scoot to school has numerous benefits including:

  • increased physical activity levels resulting in improved health and wellbeing
  • reduced congestion and pollution around schools 
  • improved academic performance and attendance rates
  • increased road safety awareness
  • increased confidence, self-esteem, and independence for young people.

This initiative provides schools with a planned programme of activities throughout the year, both in and out of the classroom.

You'll also get direct hands-on support from a dedicated Sustrans Active Travel Officer.

The fundamental aim of the programme is to provide schools with the skills and knowledge to get more children walking, cycling and scooting as their main mode of transport to school.

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Everything about this programme is so beneficial. It should be something every school has access to on an ongoing basis. Blockquote quotation marks
Teacher from participating school

More children active on the school run 

At the end of the 2020-21 school year, the number of children travelling actively to school at participating schools increased from 31% to 43%.

At the same time, the number of pupils being driven to school fell from 61% to 50%.

After one year in the programme, the number of children completing physical activity for at least 60 minutes each day increased from 26% to 41%.

Please take a look at the 2020-21 Summary Report to find out more about how the Active School Travel Programme is successfully working to increase the number of children walking, wheeling and cycling to school in Northern Ireland.

How your school can join the Active School Travel Programme

Recruitment for the new school year has now closed. If you are interested in applying for future programmes, please get in touch with us at


School newsletters

Download the spring edition of the Active School Travel Programme newsletter for your area:

Want to get in touch?

Please email us on or call 07824 627 674.

Read more on how we provided resources for Irish-language schools across Northern Ireland for the first time this year.

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Read about our other projects in Northern Ireland