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3 November 2005 | Printer friendly

York gives students the opportunity to cycle to school

In Britain, road transport is the number one cause of child injury and a growing number of children are obese. More opportunities for safe walking and cycling would therefore mean a safer and healthier environment for young people.

York, a medium-sized British city, has managed to achieve create new opportunities and now boasts higher than national average percentages of children walking and cycling to school. The success is at least in part thanks to Sustrans, a national charity that supports sustainable transport policies.

The project involved schools in setting up safety zones (including speed limits) and travel plans, and taking part in road safety training programme. A newsletter, called “TravelZone”, was made available to all schools and school governors in York to make them aware of the initiatives and resources open to them to tackle travel issues.

The UK Department of Transport and Education is strongly supportive of the York initiative. It has called on all schools in England to produce a school travel plan by 2010. To stimulate change, it offers grants for local authorities to employ school travel advisers and capital grants of up to 15,000 Euros for schools.

The City of York and Sustrans developed the project on a model that had already proved successful in Denmark. In Odense, accidents involving children on journeys to school has been reduced by 85%. The changes have meant that half of all children in this Danish city now feel safe enough to cycle to school.

Source: Children’s health and environment case studies summary book, World Health Organization, 2004, p.61-64.

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