Urgent action is required to reverse the increasing number of children being driven to school in Northern Ireland, an active travel charity has said.
Figures published by Northern Ireland’s Department for Infrastructure show 67% of primary school children travelled to school by car in 2018/19 – compared to 59% in 2013/14.
Conversely, levels of walking to school have decreased, down from 31% to 22%.
Responding to the figures, Sustrans says urgent action is needed to shift the ‘car culture’ – including increased measures to improve road safety, such as better crossings and footpaths.
Anne Madden, Sustrans, said: “The figures showing how increasing numbers of school-children are being driven to school in Northern Ireland are truly woeful.
“The fact that the number of primary school children being driven has risen since 2013/14 shows that we, as a society, have a lot more to do.”
The DfI figures also show that more than half of primary school children (54%) who live within a mile of their school are currently travelling by car.
Anne Madden added: “We know from our surveys that road safety is the main reason why parents drive their children to school, but these same parents are adding to congestion and air pollution at the school-gates.
“There need to be improvements in infrastructure such as footpaths and traffic crossings to enable more active travel.”