The Health Improvement Commission has tracked children’s movements by surveys since June 2020, finding out who gets to school on foot, bicycle or scooter. Now it surveys twice a year in May and October.
Data is collected by teachers asking the students with a show of hands, how they travelled to and from school in the space of two days.
The survey in October 2022 saw 3,981 primary and 762 secondary pupils report their travel to and from school.
Primary schools saw a 6% increase in active travel from to school from the previous October and a 12% increase in journeys home, while secondary schools also had a 6% increase in active travel to school but only a 4% increase on the way home.
The lower increase in secondary schools has been put down to a number of reasons, including longer commuting distances and the increased use of school transport.
The survey also showed that the levels of active travel declined in older year groups.
‘We know it is more of a challenge to keep momentum for walking and cycling going as children enter secondary school, and when many children pass their driving test,’ said active travel officer Alex Costen.
Many secondary school commuters will face even longer journeys when the three-school secondary model is introduced in 2025 however, the group is confident it will be able to keep active transport numbers high through the change.
‘Increasing the opportunity for active travel has always been a factor when school models have been considered. There is no reason to expect a decrease in active travel as long as the enablers for active travel, such as facilities at schools and park and stride options, are factored in during the planning process,’ said active education lead Alun Williams.
In 2023, the commission is aiming to address in detail the barriers to active travel by speaking to secondary school students and see what may encourage them to travel more actively.
The group will look to promote the benefits to the environment and how active travel can shorten journey times by beating congestion at peak times.