The Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) are encouraging parents and children to walk or cycle to school, instead of driving.
Research from TfL’s Walking Action Plan has illustrated that a quarter of weekday morning peak car trips are for school drop-offs; a total of 254,000 trips a day.
If forming a traffic jam in single file, these cars alone would create a queue longer than 1,000km, greatly impacting congestion, air quality, safety and the efficiency of London’s roads.
Walking to school would drastically benefit both children’s health and the environment. If every young person walked one mile to school and back instead of being driven, 57kg of carbon could be saved every year.
Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: “Walking, cycling and scooting to school are fun and easy ways to build more activity into the day. That’s why we’re determined to double the number of schools which champion active travel, enabling more London children to enjoy the benefits of leading active lives.”
TfL, the Mayor and others are delivering a number of projects that promote healthy, walkable school journeys and make it easier and more appealing for parents and children to walk or cycle to school. TfL’s STARS accreditation scheme inspires young Londoners to walk, cycle and scoot to school, with more than 1,500 schools, nurseries and colleges now involved in the scheme.
TfL is also transforming streets to encourage walking and cycling, ensuring people feel safe and that streets are easy to cross. Investments have improved walking routes between nearby housing estates and the local school, encouraging more students to walk to school. City Corporation research has revealed that air pollution at the nearby Sir John Cass’s Foundation Primary School has fallen below the legal annual limit for the first time since monitoring began in 2003 as a direct result of the improvements.
Ben Plowden, Director of Surface Strategy and Network Development at TfL, said: “Walking or cycling to school gives your child time to play, exercise and enjoy their local area. There are benefits for health, wellbeing and the environment, which is why we’re looking to increase the proportion of trips to primary schools made by walking from 53 to 57 per cent by 2024. This target will help ensure London has the best rates of walking to school in the country.”
The Mayor’s Transport Strategy aims for 80 per cent of journeys to be made by walking, cycling or public transport.