Over the past 40 years, a sea change has occurred in how kids get to school. Throughout most Western countries, an increasing number of children are driven to school instead of walking or taking a bike. In a new video called “Why did kids stop walking to school?” About Here’s founder, Uytae Lee, cites the U.S. Department of Transportation statistic that in 1969, 48% of kids walked or biked to school, and that number has plummeted to just 11%.
Uytae Lee is an urban planner and videographer passionate about sharing stories about our cities. The video was produced in partnership with TransLink, Metro Vancouver’s regional transportation authority.
The video makes a compelling case that more children should walk to school. It’s better for children’s health and reduces congestion and pollution from car exhaust. In a world where we are pushing for people to be greener, flooding the road with cars every morning to take kids on a short drive seems counter-productive.
Some parents drive their kids to school because they fear they could be abducted or hit by a car while walking to school. But Lee doesn’t believe that those fears should be a reason for parents to change their behavior over the past few decades. “As terrible as [kidnappings and car accidents] are, the statistics behind those risks haven’t changed significantly over the decades,” Lee says.
The video is a great reminder that reevaluating how kids get to school may be a good idea. When they take a bike or walk, it’s better for their health and that of the planet as well.