Media Release: Two-thirds of Scots children travel to school ‘sustainably’, says survey

A SURVEY of almost half a million school children in Scotland has shown that the vast majority travel to school actively or sustainably.

Says a spokesperson: “The ‘Hands Up Scotland 2012′ survey results show that two-thirds of children are making the daily school journey to school on foot, by bicycle, on a scooter, by skates or by bus.

“Meanwhile, although car use has remained broadly stable over the last five years, the number of children being driven to school has been decreasing since 2009.

“This annual survey, which is funded by Transport Scotland and coordinated and published by the sustainable transport charity, Sustrans Scotland, saw more children than ever taking part and has produced a number of positive results.”

Sustrans Scotland national director, John Lauder, explains more:

“Sustrans Scotland is encouraged that more school children than ever before took part in the Hands Up Scotland survey 2012. The results provide us with a clearer picture about how they choose to travel to school.

“We are pleased to report that half of all school children surveyed get to school under their own steam – by walking, cycling, scooting or skating. This is an extremely heartening statistic. In particular, scooting is very much in vogue at present and has become an increasingly popular method of travel.

“We can also report that there has been an increase in the number of children who ‘park and stride’ to school – in other words they are driven part of the way to school and walk the rest with their parent/guardian.

“This is an optimistic indicator that parents are now considering the need for them and their children to incorporate active travel into their daily routines.

“It is evident that in Local Authorities like Fife where specific measures such as the introduction of 20mph zones have been put in place, more children cycle, walk, scoot or skate to school.

“The introduction of 20mph zones is within the power of all Local Authorities in Scotland and we would recommend that they are implemented in all residential streets across the country.

“This would help to provide children with safer routes to school than what is currently on offer.”

Adds Lauder: “The Hands Up Scotland survey in now in its second year as an official statistic and we aspire to have a complete dataset for the entire country in the coming years.

“Sustrans would like to express thanks to the Minister for Transport and Veterans, Keith Brown, for his continued investment in active and sustainable travel.

“Without such investment the results from this survey would undoubtedly be very different and we would not have so many children travelling to school actively or sustainably.”

Transport Minister, Keith Brown, said:

“The Hands Up Scotland Survey will act as a valuable data source going forward for tracking the change we want to see in relation to more people choosing active travel for their everyday journeys. Scotland is leading the way in measuring how kids travel to school.

“It is vital that we, with our delivery partners in local authorities, keep up the momentum to ensure that the data in years to come starts to paint a positive picture of modal shift towards more active travel.

“It goes without saying that cycling and walking benefits the individual with not just physical benefits, but benefits for mental health, the environment and keeping people’s transport costs down.

“The Scottish Government has invested £58 million on active travel over this spending review, strengthening our commitment to children travelling actively. Getting the next generation on board is pivotal.”


For further information about Sustrans please contact:

Janice Fenny, policy and media advisor, 0131 346 3010, 07827957123

For further information about the Hands Up Scotland 2012 survey please contact:

Philip Glennie, communities manager, 0131 346 9776, 07917823448


Sustrans makes smarter travel choices possible, desirable and inevitable. We are a leading UK charity enabling people to travel by foot, bicycle or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day. We work with families, communities, policy-makers and partner organisations so that people are able to choose healthier, cleaner and cheaper journeys, with better places and spaces to move through and in.

Sustrans Scotland

Rosebery House, 9 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh, EH12 5EZ

Telephone 0131 346 3010

Mobile 07827957123


Contact: Janice Fenny
Phone: 01313463010