Can travelling to school be both safe and green? By encouraging people to follow the guidance in this leaflet, we can contribute to healthy life styles and promote environmentally-friendly attitudes to travel.

Lorraine Smith, Head teacher, Western C of E Primary School, Winchester

Why act?

We all want our children to travel to school safely. Driving our children to school may seem like the easy option.


  • so many cars delivering children outside the school gate are a hazard for other children
  • it pollutes the air round the school
  • it congests the roads
  • it produces the greenhouse gases which cause climate change, building up problems for our children’s future world. The greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide lasts for more than 30 years so the travel decisions we make today will affect the lives of our children and grandchildren.
  • it can contribute to our children being overweight. The latest Health Survey for England (HSE) data shows us that over 1 in 10 children aged 2-10, are obese1. Obesity contributes to a range of chronic diseases in adult life and earlier death.

Encouraging environmentally-friendly and healthy travel behaviour amongst young people is a key to a future sustainable and healthy lifestyle.

We can all be part of the solution.

We can act as individual parents.

Parents can help each other.

School and parents can work together. A School Travel Plan can:

  •   address these problems,
  •   encourage travel that reduces carbon emissions
  •   encourage active travel that contributes to students’ health and wellbeing

I get my children to  school now by:





Distance to school:


Actions to cut CO2

  • Walk to school
  • Identify safe back street routes for your child to walk or cycle to school
  • See if the school and parents can set up “walking buses”
  • Encourage your child to participate in Walk to School week and to adopt sustainable modes of transport wherever possible.
  • Find parents who live close to you and ask them to share the task of getting the children to school
  • Set up car sharing to minimize the numbers of cars used for school travel. A car with 4 passengers can be as fuel efficient as the average public bus. Try searching on
  • Download Hampshire County Council resources to help you set up car sharing groups
  • If you have to drive your child to school, find a place to drop your child further away from the school so they can `park and stride’. Avoid driving up to or past the school gates. Try out two other ways of getting to school with your child, once each,
  • Find out about buses that stop near the school, put up the timetable and route on the school notice board, and send a link to it to parents and teachers. Look into discounts for termly season tickets.
  • Set up Bikeability / Cycle Proficiency training at school
  • Encourage pupils to cycle to school once they’ve been trained
  • Get your school to provide cycle storage at school
  • Check that road safety is taught in the school
  • Make sure that your School Travel Plan addresses these issues
  • Talk to your children about what they learn at school about climate change

My ideas

People I could lift share with:



Public  transport options to consider



My strategies for walking and cycling more





Time and materials

Half an hour to think about other ways to travel to school with your child.

Half a day to set up a discussion with the parents of children in your child’s class about the possibility of sharing lifts a couple of times a week.

An hour to get a copy of your School Travel Plan, see what it says and consider what further actions you could suggest, or how you could support what’s in it.

A couple of hours to talk to parents / teachers about how to support the School to implement its travel plan.

Suggested goals

If you drive your child to school, start by setting the goal of leaving the car behind at least one day a week by finding alternatives such as lift share, buses, cycling and walking.

Gradually increase this to two days a week, then three, four and five. Aim to make driving your child to school the exception rather than the norm.

Co2 credit

Typically car journeys cause 4 kilograms of carbon dioxide per 10 miles travelled. Work out how many local miles you drive each year for the school run and check the credit you can achieve by reducing these miles.


What I will do











Click here to return to the full list of greener travel factsheets.


1. Cycling and Health – What is the evidence? Cycling England