Qualitative Researcher, 12 pp 13-15

The journey to school is a daily ritual for millions of families. This form of everyday mobility gives shape to most children’s and their parent’s daily routines. Concerns over sedentary lifestyles, traffic congestion and environmental degradation have brought this rather mundane and commonplace travel behaviour into recent academic and policy focus. Among primary school children, my focus here, just over one half (52%) of journeys are still made on foot. (DfT 2008). However, concern arises from the fact that the number of journeys made by children in motor vehicles has doubled in the last two decades. Forty-one percent of primary school children are now ferried to and from school in motor vehicles (DfT 2008). The UK’s Department for Transport consistently estimates around one in five vehicles on the road in the morning peak times to be related to a school run (DfT, 2006). This increases peak journey times for all road users and, crucially, increases parental perceptions of risk, as these journeys increase the theoretical and actual traffic danger to children around their school locations.