Active travel means walking, cycling, scootering, skateboarding or any similar transport where human energy is spent to travel. The health benefits of active travel are well recognised, particularly as an alternative to motorised or sedentary forms of transport. Using public transport almost always includes walking to and from destinations, and therefore also can be considered as active travel.
Children's local active travel to places they regularly go to provides significant health benefits from physical activity, can improve concentration, increase indepenence and positive self-esteem, and contribute to safe mobility.
A plan to encourage children's active travel can be developed by using the guide and supporting resources for Parents/carers and communities:
You may not need to use all the resources, only those that will help you achieve what you want.
To find out how children currently travel to places use the 'hands up' survey of a team or class, asking how they travelled there that day.
To help get an idea of what parents/carers in your neighbourhood or community group think about children's active travel it is a good idea to ask them. The best way to find out is to conduct a brief survey or interview of parents/carers, children or facility users.
Find out if the venues you are looking at have facilities to support active travel eg facilities for parking bicycles/scooters and storing gear like helmets.
Additional support may be available from the Health Promotion Teams of your Local Health District, from your local Council or Local Government Agency (some of which employ Road Safety Offices), or Department of Education and Communities Road Safety Education Consultants.
Parents/carers have responsibility for how their child(ren) travel to the activities they are involved with. The Parent/carer information pack gives some benefits of safe active travel and how parents/carers can encourage active travel.
To encourage more children to walk or cycle to the places they go to the planning ideas in the Action Plan template should help.
Parental fear can sometimes prevent children's independence and getting enough physical activity. 'How to help your kids get around safely on their own' is a VicHealth parent resource to help your child to become more independent. (opens new window)