Census Results welcomed by Green-Schools and Safe Routes to School Programmes
The headline figures have shown a decrease in car usage for the first time ever for children being driven to school, and a marked increase in the number of teenage boys and girls cycling to school/college or work. Walking as a mode of transport for primary school-aged children has also increased since the 2016 census.
The private car remained the dominant form of transport for school children, with 55% of primary school and 42% of secondary school children being driven or driving to school however this mode showed a decrease for the first time ever, from 59.8% to 55%.
In 2022, there were 88% more primary school children commuting by bicycle than in 2016, and the number of students aged 13 to 18 cycling to school was up 79%. The number of teenage girls cycling to school more than doubled in 2022 from 2016 figures, with 1459 students recorded in 2022 versus 694 in 2022.
Ciara Norton, Green-Schools Travel Programme Manager: “We are delighted to see the Census 2022 results and the increases in young people cycling and walking to school. We recognise that there is still so much work to be done in equipping families with the information, tools and opportunity to get to school and work in active and sustainable modes – something we’re committed to working with school communities to provide. A special mention to the teen girls who have doubled their cycling numbers since 2016; we launched our #AndSheCycles campaign in 2019 hoping for such an increase and we’ll continue working directly with young people to promote the joys and benefits of cycling and hopefully see an even greater increase in four year’s time!”
Tracey Lydon, Safe Routes to School Programme Manager: “The recently released Census 2022 data highlights a revival which has commenced with increasing numbers of students across Ireland opting to walk or cycle to school.
“In 1986 over 250,000 primary school students walked to school and over 50,000 secondary school students cycled to school. These figures decreased with the rise in car dependence until 2006, but they have steadily been increasing since. The 2022 Census truly offers a landmark moment with the first-ever decrease in car use recorded.
“Over the past 2 years, the Safe Routes to School team has been working to support school communities in increasing both their interest and influence in creating safer environments for them to be able to travel actively to school. The Census 2022 data is encouraging and supports our enthusiasm to continue our work with schools and local authorities across the county in a mobilising change in how students travel to school. With more infrastructure built reflecting the needs of students, we hope to see the number of students walking and cycling to school continue to grow.”
The Green-Schools Travel Programme works directly with schools promoting active and sustainable transport to school. When working on the Travel themes of the prorgamme schools are assigned a dedicated Travel Officer to work with their school identifying opportunities for, and promoting, walking, cycling, scooting, park ‘n’ stride, public transport use and carpooling on the journey to school.