Published: 26th AUGUST 2021

Hands Up Scotland Survey

The Hands Up Scotland Survey looks at how pupils across Scotland travel to school and nursery. Established in 2008, the survey has been providing an insight into journeys to school for more than a decade and is the largest national dataset on school travel.

Sustrans infographic showing the top level results of the 2020 Hands Up Scotland Survey. The infographic shows that 438,605 school and nursery children took part in the 2020 survey, and 44.8% of people who were surveyed walk to school, with 3.8% cycling, 2.6% scooting and 14.1% using public transport.

School survey packs 2021

This 2021 survey will take place between 13 and 17 September.

Please ensure that the survey is conducted at your school during this week.


Important: Covid-19

In line with Scottish government guidance (see point 36), we are instructing that survey materials and completed forms are shared electronically (e.g. digital copies sent by email) within schools, and between schools and Local Authority contacts rather than sharing physical paper copies.


How to complete the survey

You will find the survey materials for the Hands Up Scotland Survey (HUSS) 2021 below.

Your Local Authority should have indicated that your school either submit data on the online survey platform or return all of the completed survey forms to your Local Authority contact.

The survey materials vary slightly between these two methods of submitting data.


Online survey platform

All data should be returned via the online survey platform by Friday 1 October, unless you have been instructed otherwise by your local authority.

The online survey platform will open on 13 September 2021.

Complete the online survey.


Returning completed survey forms to Local Authority contact

Please ensure you only use this set of resources if the Local Authority has indicated that the completed survey forms should be returned to them.

Should you require anything further or have any queries, please speak to your local authority contact, or email


Thank you for your continued participation and support of the Hands Up Scotland Survey!

Top findings from the 2020 survey

Some of the key findings from the 2020 survey are:

  • Active travel to school is at its highest level of the past ten survey years.
  • Private motorised travel has decreased from 25.5% of school pupils in 2019 to 24.3% in 2020. This is the first time it has dropped in four years.
  • The percentage of school pupils travelling to school using the bus has decreased from 18.2% in 2011 to a low of 14.1% in 2020.
  • The percentage of school pupils travelling to school by park and stride has increased from 7.5% in 2011 to 9.9% in 2020.

Hands Up Scotland Survey 2020 final results

The final release of the Hands Up Scotland Survey results are now available.

This follows the provisional release of results in February 2021, which provided users with earlier access to the dataset to support an understanding of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on travel to school.

The Hands Up Scotland Survey 2020 results have not changed since the provisional release. However, the response rates have undergone some changes due to the publication, and application, of more recent school census information since the provisional release.

Download the Hands Up Scotland 2020 survey final results

About the Hands Up Scotland Survey

The project is funded by Transport Scotland and is a joint survey between Sustrans and all 32 Scottish local authorities.

Each September, schools across Scotland complete the survey by asking their pupils ‘How do you normally travel to school?’.

Local authority officers distribute the survey to schools and return pupil responses to our Research and Monitoring Unit for overall collation, analysis and reporting.

A Parliamentary Order was passed designating Sustrans as Official Statistics Providers in the production of Hands Up Scotland on 1 June 2012. 

The results provide a valuable annual snapshot of school travel.

They are used by Sustrans, Transport Scotland and other groups to:

  • inform policy areas
  • monitor trends in school travel over time
  • and provide information relevant to a variety of health, transport and education initiatives. 
pupils in classroom raising their hands

Hands Up Scotland Survey data request

The Hands Up Scotland Survey team also produces reports containing information at a school level for local authorities.

To access these local authority reports to aid more in-depth analyses for a specific project or purpose, please submit a data request to the Hands Up Scotland Survey team.

Download the Hands Up Scotland Survey Data Request Form.

Sharing of school-level data is at the discretion of the relevant local authority and Sustrans’ Research and Monitoring Unit.

The usual turnaround period for a simple dataset request is two to three weeks. More complex requests may take longer. 

Your submitted data request will be processed in accordance with the Hands Up Scotland Data Request Guidelines Terms and Conditions.

If you encounter any problems in submitting your data request, please contact the Hands Up Scotland Survey team.

Previous survey results

Hands up Scotland 2020 Provisional results


Hands Up Scotland 2019

Hands Up Scotland 2018


Hands Up Scotland 2017 

Hands Up Scotland 2016


Hands Up Scotland 2015

Hands Up Scotland 2014


Hands Up Scotland 2013

Hands Up Scotland 2012


Hands Up Scotland 2011

Hands Up Scotland 2010


Hands Up Scotland 2009

Hands Up Scotland 2008



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