Belfast Telegraph

Half of children live under a mile from school but two-thirds take car to gates in Northern Ireland

Increase in car use over the past five years

School Children
School Children

A new government report has found that while half of all children live under a mile from their primary school, almost two-thirds (65%) get driven to the gates.

Over the past five years there has been a drop in the number of kids walking to school and an increase in those getting in the car.

In 2013/14 59% of pupils got the car to school with 31% walking, 10% on the bus and 1% cyclling.

In the 2011-2016 programme for government the then Department for Regional Development had a target of getting 36% of primary school pupils and 22% of secondary aged kids to walk or cycle to school.

The latest information was published in the Northern Ireland transport study for methods of how children get to school on Tuesday.

It found that just over a quarter - 26% - regularly walked to school. A further 9% travelled to/from school by bus, while 1% of pupils cycled.

In terms of distance half (50%) of pupils lived under a mile from their primary school, with 32% living between between two and three miles and 18% living over four.

For post-primary pupils, 18% lived 0-1 mile from their school, with 31% living between 2-3 miles. The remaining 50% lived 4 or more miles from their school.

For those in secondary level schools 50% of pupils travelled to and from school by bus as their main mode of transport and a further 31% were driven by car.  Under a fifth (16%) of pupils walked to/from school while a small proportion took the train (2%). These results are similar to 2016/17 but again there has been an increase in those taking the car since 2014.

In 2017/18, there were 817 primary schools and 199 post-primary schools in Northern Ireland.

"It is likely therefore," report authors said, "that children will live closer to primary schools so these results are not unexpected."

The information will be used by the Department for infrastructure in order to assess its effectiveness in promoting sustainable transport and

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