The Challenge: The decline in children’s active travel (e.g., walking and cycling) to school and other destinations over recent decades is a concern for planners and policy-makers interested in public health.
Make an impact: Walking and bicycling to school provides needed regular physical activity for children that can improve health, aid in cognitive development, reduce traffic congestion, and improve air quality.
What the findings are about: This brief summarizes research from a report analyzing National Household Travel Survey results in California.
Key Findings and Recommendations:
Californians walk 10-25 percent more than the national average.
Twenty-six to thirty-one percent of children walk or bicycle to school, more than twice the national average.
Children that walk to school make twice as many walking trips for all purposes than children that travel to school by other means.
Nearly two-thirds of school aged children in California live within two miles of their school, but of those children, a greater percentage are driven and fewer ride a school bus than the national average.
Socioeconomic disparities reflect stark differences in travel to school patterns – African-American and Latino children, and children from lower-income households, are more likely to walk or bicycle to school.
Ward-Waller, J., Meaney, J., McGuckin, N. Travel to School in California: Key Findings from the National Household Travel Survey. A Policy Brief. Safe Routes to School National Partnership; January 2013.