The benefits of public transport usage and independent active travel for students
There are a number of physical, mental and social benefits associated with independent travel to and from school. It is well understood that walking and cycling are most beneficial to students in terms of overall health and fitness. Dr Michael Carr-Gregg links these active modes of transport to greater time spent outdoors, which in turn has a significant impact on a child’s mental health and stress levels.
Further, the NSW Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey (2011) stated that childhood obesity has risen over the past five years, with less than two thirds of students aged 12 to 17 meeting the daily exercise requirements of one hour per day. A large proportion of this is a result of reduced levels of incidental physical activity which has a significant impact on a child’s overall health and fitness. Interestingly, NSW Health has found that 16 percent of secondary school students travel to school by car.
There are some obvious and not-so-obvious reasons why students should take public transport to school. Research has found that students who use active or public transport to get to and from school have better health-related fitness. The World Health Organisation, has indicated that “walking or using transit twice a day may contribute more than 30 percent toward recommended daily physical activity” (WHO 2011).
Public transport has a number of social and wellbeing benefits. Students who catch public transport to school are more likely to develop confidence and independence as a result of navigating their way to and from school on their own. There are more opportunities to socialise with peers, and most importantly, interact with the general public, preparing students for life outside school. Additionally, the uptake of public transport in favour of cars has been seen to reduce road related injuries and congestion in peak times around schools.
Active travel to school however, is not always feasible for many families, with distance being cited as the major barrier. Complicated by students’ co-curricular activities such as sport or music, having to carry heavy equipment or starting early, means parents often drop students on their way to work. If this is the case, students should be encouraged to use active independent travel some of the time, whether it be on certain days or times (afternoons only for example). Transport NSW also has a number of exceptional apps, such as TripView that make it easy for students to safely navigate their way to and from school.
At Trinity Grammar School we provide a number of independent travel solutions for students with a private bus network serving the Sutherland Shire, Inner West, Hunters Hill and Eastern Suburbs areas of Sydney.
For over century we have guided boys to grow in mind, body and spirit and we know what boys need to truly flourish and succeed. To learn more about the Trinity difference and how we can help your son to discover his unique potential, passions and purpose,download our prospectus.