Time to Reverse WA's Declining Walking and Cycling Rates

Published on:
Thursday, 27 April, 2023

Do you remember walking to school back in the day? As a child, my journey was a 120km round trip, and I envied those who could walk to school.

But for those lucky enough to walk or ride, you would probably start the journey with your sibling, knock on a few doors along the way, and end with a group of boisterous mates playing with sticks and chatting about what you were going to do for recess.

As you grew up, the walking shoes were likely traded for a bicycle because that was the cool way to rock up to school as a teenager – at least until you got your P plates.

Today active transport to and from school has dropped as low as 20 per cent in some Perth catchment areas.

Declining active travel can have far-reaching consequences – from obesity and chronic disease to skills development and self-efficacy.

The Department of Transport has formed an Active Travel to School working group to get children walking and riding to school again.

Local Government has an important role to play here in designing the communities we want to raise our children in.

WALGA will this year lead consultation with members to identify local challenges, amend and develop new planning guidelines with a view to tackling issues such as pedestrian connectivity, parking demand, road safety and public transport access.

This effort backs up what we heard at WALGA’s Transport and Roads Forum, where Department of Transport’s Michelle Prior noted active transport to school nationwide had plummeted from 75 to 25 per cent in the past four decades as she spruiked the Your Move program which hopes to reach 450 schools in WA by 2026.

Cr Karen Chappel, WALGA President

Your Move Program

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