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d+
Active Transportation

Recommendation

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.

Definitions

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.

Survey Data

The National Survey for Wales (2016/17)

The National Survey for Wales conducts a 25-minute face-to-face interview with one adult (aged 16+) in each household across Wales. 10,493 interviews with parents of primary & secondary school children were recorded. The data revealed that 44% of primary school children and 34% of secondary school pupils travel actively to school (walk with an adult, walk on their own or with other children, plus a few that cycle).

The National Survey for Wales (2016/17)

The HBSC/SHRN is a school-based survey with data collected through self-completion questionnaires administered in the classroom.The survey was carried out on a nationally representative sample and was completed by over 100,000 children and young people aged 11-16 years in Wales. The HBSC/SHRN data reported that 33.79% (34,637 children and young people aged 11-16) walk/cycle TO school and 36.09% walk/cycle FROM school (10,257 children and young people aged 11-16).

Read More
  1. 1

    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.

  2. 2

    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.

  3. 3

    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.

  4. 4

    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.

Close
Deciding on a Grade

The Research Group decided to weight the data in the following way:
National Survey of Wales primary school data = 50%
National Survey of Wales secondary school, and HBSC travelling TO and FROM school data = 50%


The justification for this being that if we were to weight all four figures equally, secondary school children would be double-represented and so an average of the three secondary school data would account for 50% and the primary school data account for the other 50%. After calculating the above, Active Transport came to 39% (D+). The grade in AHK 2016 report card was C. This difference may be due to the variance in the data sources available and the changes to the scoring system for the 2018 gradings.

Considerations
  • The best available evidence shows that less than 40% of children and young people are travelling actively to school.
  • All data for Active Transportation was collected through self-report methods, although, a major strength is that both surveys provided national data.
  • There are fewer data sets available to measure this indicator than in previous years. The sample size for the surveys that have been considered are also smaller than previous. Confidence in any trend analysis would be reinforced with greater data size.
  • As with previous years, surveys only provide data on travel to/from school and not other destinations (e.g. park, shops). More research is needed on how children and young people travel to other places including shops, parks and friends’ or relatives’ houses. These journeys may provide additional opportunities for active transportation and therefore should be considered for future national surveys.
  • Public Health Wales will conduct an online survey open to all schools in Wales that will collect data on how children normally/usually travel to. This data will hopefully be available for AHK 2020. The process will be underpinned by work to validate the methodology and question format, which is currently underway.
How to Improve
  • Active Journeys to Schools - link
  • Transport and Active Travel - link
Data Sources
  • School Sport Survey 2015 - link
  • Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Wales Survey 2013/14 - link
  • National Survey for Wales 2014/15 - link
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