Active transportation is any form of travel through the use of active means, such as walking, cycling, skateboarding and scooting. There are currently no recommendations for active transportation, although children and young people should be encouraged to take active forms of transport whenever possible. Research has shown that active transportation, especially travel to and from school, contributes a substantial portion to children and young people’s overall physical activity level and is linked with higher levels of energy expenditure. The guidelines for physical activity levels for children and young people can be found under the ‘overall physical activity level’ indicator.
For the 2016 Report Card, the Research Work Group used the proportion of children and young people who use active transportation to get to school, as the benchmark for grading the Active Transportation indicator.
4 nationally representative data sources were used by the Research Work Group to assign an active transportation grade.
The School Sport Survey (2015) provides data on 115,398 children aged 7-16 years old from across Wales. This is the largest available survey data on children and young people’s active transportation. The data showed that overall, 40% of children and young people reported they walked, cycled, scooted or skated to school. Further, 44% of Primary School Pupils (school years 3-6) and 37% of Secondary School Pupils (school years 7-11) reported they walked, cycled, scooted or skated to school.
The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (2013/14) collects data on 9,055 children and young people aged 11-16 years old from secondary schools in Wales. The data showed that 32% (34% boys, 31% girls) completed the main part of their journey to school by walking or cycling. In this survey, the data indicates that little has changed in the proportion of children and young people who actively travelled to school between the years 2006 to 2014.
The National Survey for Wales (2014/15) conducts a 25-minute face-to-face interview with one adult (aged 16+) in each household across Wales. 14,285 interviews with parents of primary and secondary school children were recorded. The data from this survey showed that 49% of primary school children, and 35% of secondary school pupils walked to school regardless of distance from home to school.
Data provided by Sustrans Wales from their hands up survey on 4,356 children and young people in 2014/15, reported 53.7% of children aged 7-16 years old travel to school either by walking, cycling, or scooting/skating. The data showed that the levels of children travelling to school by walking, cycling, or scooting/skating were consistent for the last 4 years of data collection.
Taking all of these surveys into account, the data ranged from 32% to 54% of children and young people travelling to school by active means. The Research Work Group decided that the Active Transportation indicator should be assigned a C grade. This grade has remained a C from the previous 2014 Report Card, since there has been little change in the data from the 2014 Report Card, as well as, in the trend for children and young people’s active travel to school since 2006.