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New Report Reveals Parent Attitudes on Walking to School

March 15, 2010

A recently released report from the National Center for Safe Routes to School – of which America Walks is a partner – uses surveys of parents and students to document trends on the trip to school. Over 130,000 parent responses and almost 2.4 million student trips to or from elementary and middle schools were included in the aggregate analysis. 

The findings include as follows:
  •  According to parents, 29% live within 1/2 mile of school; 44% live within one mile.
  • Trips on foot totaled 11% in the morning and 15% during the afternoon.  Biking trips comprised 2% of trips in both directions.  The distribution of walking trips across grade levels forms a flattened bell curve, with a peak of 24% of fifth graders walking to or from school. 
  • For parents who did not allow their children to walk or bicycle to/from school, the six most frequently cited issues were distance (62 percent), traffic speed (55 percent), traffic volume along the route (55 percent), intersection and crossing safety (48 percent), weather (44 percent) and crime and violence (38 percent).
  • For parents who did allow their children to walk or bicycle, the most common decision factors were distance (52 percent), safety of intersections and crossings (42 percent), weather or climate (41 percent), and presence of sidewalks or pathways (38 percent), followed by traffic volume (36 percent) and speed along the route (35 percent).

The baseline results provide useful information about student travel for the schools in the sample, many of which likely just began their SRTS activities, and highlight issues for the national SRTS program to address and promote. The full report is available for download at: http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/resources/travel_data_reports.cfm.