The journey to school is often short and therefore ideally suited to alternative modes of transport. Nationally fewer than 50 per cent of journeys to school are now made on foot while nearly 30 per cent are made by car and only 1 per cent of children travel to school by bicycle.
The 'school run' is increasingly blamed for adding to early morning congestion with parents driving their children to school making up an estimated 20 per cent of peak hour traffic.
The reasons for this increase in car journeys to school are varied, including:
- increase in car ownership
- time constraints of parents
- concerns over child safety
- greater parental choice in schools
By encouraging walking and cycling, a travel plan will contribute to improving children’s physical health, alertness and well-being through increased activity. Reducing car use will lessen the air pollution that is an aggravating factor in many cases of asthma. Children are not protected from air pollution by travelling in a car as the air quality can be worse inside the vehicle than outside.