New Study Shows More Children Are Walking to School

Research from the National Center for Safe Routes to School reveals that nationwide, walking to and from school increased from less than 14 percent to more than 17 percent of all trips between 2007-08 and 2014. While not nationally representative of all schools in the U.S., the travel patterns reported by the study’s 6,500 schools show a promising upward trend.

The National Center’s newly released report, “Trends in Walking and Bicycling to School from 2007 to 2014,” is based on 720,000 parent surveys collected by nearly 6,500 schools throughout the United States. Using this data, National Center researchers analyzed school travel patterns to learn more about school and household factors that may influence families’ school travel mode choices.

Other key findings from the analyses include:

  • Across all grade levels walking increased, especially for students attending low-income schools.
  • Boys were twice as likely to ride a bicycle to and from school as were girls.
  • Support from parents for walking and biking to school increased steadily since 2007, and the number of parents who think their child’s school supports walking and bicycling to school increased considerably in 2014.

The National Center for Safe Routes to School’s data collection system, launched in 2007, informs decisions at the local, state, and Federal levels and serves as a tool to monitor student commute patterns nationwide. The National Center serves as the information clearinghouse for the Federal Safe Routes to School program with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration.

Download the full report.