23rd Oct, 2020

Survey finds Midlands parents don't want to use their car on the school run

Rob George 21st Sep, 2020 Updated: 21st Sep, 2020

EIGHT out of ten parents don’t want to drive their kids to school, a new survey has revealed.

Sustrans surveyed 5,994 parents across the West Midlands asking them to share their experiences of the school run.

The survey found that although more than a third – 36.6 per cent – of parents did drive their children to school, only one in five wanted to. As 79.5 per cent of parents live within two miles of their child’s school it raises a simple question. Why do they drive if they don’t want to?

Concerns about safety appear to be the main reason. Of those who responded, 41 per cent wanted safer road crossings while 27.8 per cent felt that fewer cars near to schools would encourage their child to travel actively. And nearly a quarter of parents said wider pavements kept in good order would make it easier for their child to walk, cycle or scoot to school.

One parent who spoke to Sustrans said: “We would love to cycle more but the roads are too congested with parked cars and fast moving cars. The pavements are too narrow, it’s just not safe”. Another added: “We moved to be able to walk / scoot / cycle to school. It’s the volume of cars around school drop off time that is just overwhelming and creates stress.”

Commenting on the findings Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said: “We welcome this feedback from parents because giving people the opportunity to choose cycling or walking for shorter journeys is very much part of the plan we are working on to improve the public transport network across the region. That is why at Transport for West Midlands we are busy investing £40million in a variety of projects, including development of our recently launched ‘Starley Network’ of safe cycle routes. All about helping people make their choice if they want to swap their cars for bikes on those shorter journeys around the region like the school run.”

Tim Egan, Sustrans Interim Head of Delivery for the Midlands and East, said: “As pupils return to school this September the findings are another reminder to policy makers that people want to see more investment in active travel. Although many parents currently drive their kids to schools it’s clear most want to ditch the car. Only 3% of them say their children usually cycle to school but almost six times as many (17.7%) would like them to. In response, policy-makers should direct investment towards safer infrastructure and support more traffic-free initiatives near schools. That’s why Sustrans is working together with local and national government to make the changes necessary.”

The survey was conducted in July by walking and cycling charity Sustrans in partnership with a number of primary and secondary schools. They worked closely with Transport for West Midlands, the West Midlands Combined Authority and the seven councils within it. Schools were asked to share the survey with their parents using social media, newsletters and home-schooling networks.

Visit www.sustrans.org.uk for more.

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