Travel behaviour change in schools

Sustrans helps hundreds of thousands of young people throughout the UK to travel actively and safely to school or to college.

We are working with Local Authorities, schools and teachers to increase active travel to school. Through our school's officer model we implement engaging and effective programmes designed to embed a culture of active travel amongst the entire school community.

Transforming the school run

The school run is a major source of congestion during the morning peak, with as many as one in four cars on the road taking children to school.

One quarter of primary schools are in areas that breach the legal limits for nitrogen dioxide, which stunts children's growth and increases risk of asthma and lung cancer.

Childhood obesity is at record levels while school transport budgets are facing an unprecedented squeeze.

Increasing levels of active travel offers a solution to all of these challenges.

How we can help

We can have an enormous impact within a year, through a planned programme of activities providing information, resources and encouragement - then continue to support the school as it increasingly takes the lead, often through our Big Street Survey or Sustrans School Mark scheme.

Read about the benefits and outcomes of our work with young people in Transforming Young People's Travel (pdf), including case studies from schools and communities, or find out more about how our officers work with schools.

We also have brilliant resources, incentive schemes, guides and events to help schools and professionals working with young people to encourage active, sustainable travel - both inside and outside the classroom.

Active schools guide for school leaders

Active children do better in every possible way. Their mental and physical health improves, they perform better in school, are better behaved and have better concentration and attendance.

That’s why, in partnership with Nike, we’ve helped to create a new Active Schools guide developed specially for school leaders, explaining in simple steps how to make schools more active.

We work with partner organisations to make streets around schools safer for children. This includes improving crossings or building new walking and cycling routes to link schools to their communities and to the National Cycle Network.  We can also deliver a community-led design approach.

National competitions

We run a number of national competitions for schools each year. Sustrans Big Pedal is the UK's biggest school cycling, walking and scooting event. 

Schools in Wales can also take on Sustrans Big Shift - our free to access online challenge which sets targets based on how pupils currently travel to school. Schools can choose any five days and participate as a whole school, in individual classes or in year groups.

Schools can repeat the challenge to improve on their achievements, as well as see how they compare to other schools.

Case studies

Find out more about increasing active travel to schools

Contact us to find out more about our work in schools