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Findings Series 36 - Learning from success: active travel in schools

Date: May 2013
Category: Briefing Paper
Work programme: Healthy urban planning
Author: Pete Seaman

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The promotion of active travel can be a key part of tackling Glasgow’s poor health record. Shifting from car-based transport to more active modes such as walking and cycling not only increases levels of regular physical activity, it can also reduce harm from pollution and make our urban spaces more pleasant to walk in by reducing the fear of accidents. Furthermore, active travel can help create more resilient cities, better positioned to cope with global challenges such as climate change, and peak oil and fuel security.

The Healthy and Sustainable Travel Programme at the Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH) recognises that helping the population become less dependent on car travel requires action across a number of areas; infrastructure, policy and culture all influence our travel behaviour and preferences.

In this project, we used the concept of positive deviance as a tool for exploring an existing example of the kinds of behaviours that represent the change we would like to see: schools where pupil journeys are regularly made by means other than by car. The research asks what can we learn from these examples for the promotion of active travel more broadly?