What active travel means

Active travel means young people walking, scooting or cycling to school.  

The benefits of active travel

Travelling actively to school can:

  • improve health and fitness 
  • improve concentration at school (active students do better in their studies
  • improve road safety around schools
  • help students to unwind after school by giving them time and space to think 
  • give students more confidence and develops independence 

Active travel to school helps the environment by reducing: 

  • air pollution 
  • carbon emissions from cars 
  • congestion around schools and nearby residential areas 

It is also a quicker and cheaper way to travel, particularly for short journeys. 

Resources for schools and parents

We have support and resources to promote and encourage active travel to school as well as information for parents who want to find out more. 

Resources for schools

We give advice and resources to help your school encourage pupils and their families to actively travel to school.

Modeshift STARS

This national accreditation is a free of charge scheme for schools. It supports the development of a school travel plan using an online portal.

It is a way of encouraging sustainable active travel to school. We support your accreditation from sign up to the Platinum level.

You can find out how Modeshift STARS has made a difference to Barley Close Primary in Mangotsfield, the first school in South Gloucestershire to reach Bronze and to then progress to Silver. They have now reached Platinum.

You can also read about The Castle in Thornbury, who were the first secondary school to achieve Bronze and then Silver.

Your school will have met some of the criteria for this accreditation if you take part in:

  • road safety workshops
  • pedestrian training
  • Bikeability cycle training

Funding for active travel infrastructure

We are funding infrastructure to encourage more schools to gain Modeshift STARS accreditation and promote active travel to and from school.

The first 10 schools to gain Bronze Modeshift STARS accreditation will be able to choose from items up to £500 to support active travel, such as:

  • scooter and cycle storage
  • lockers for pupils
  • seating

This funding is available for the current financial year (April 2023 to March 2024).

Your school must submit their application for Bronze by 31 December 2023.

To be eligible for the funding, your school will need to:

  • be registered with Modeshift STARS
  • not hold a current Bronze or higher accreditation
  • plan and execute a range of initiatives through the Modeshift STARS scheme within the 2023/24 academic year

To start your Modeshift STARS application or find out more, email sustravel4schools@southglos.gov.uk.

Sustainable travel advice and resources

We have resources for schools to help promote active travel. These include:

  • workshops on active travel for Year 3 to 9
  • activities and incentives that encourage active modes of transport
  • anti-idling campaign toolkit
  • park away campaign toolkit
  • help to set up a Park and Stride site or Park and Stride Zones
  • active travel maps specific for your school
  • banners to promote active travel
  • information for your school website and newsletters

You can email sustravel4schools@southglos.gov.uk to ask for:

  • information and advice
  • help with getting the Modeshift accreditation
  • book any of our resources

School Streets

This scheme is a proactive way for school communities to tackle air pollution, improve health and road safety.

If your school takes part the road outside will have temporary restriction on all traffic at school drop-off and pick-up times.

We have 3 school street schemes:

If your school would like to be considered for a school street, email sustravel4schools@southglos.gov.uk

You can find out more about this scheme on the School Streets website.

Resources for parents

Parents are a great help in encouraging active travel to school.

Walk and drive

If it is too far to walk all the way to school, drive part of the way and park your car a short walk away from school.

Your child will get some exercise and you can still drive to work after you have dropped them off.  If you have the time, you can do the same when you pick them up.

If you do not have the time to do this every day, try to do it one day a week.

Take turns with other families

You can take turns to walk children to school with other families. This can help if your children go to different schools.

For older children arrange walking buddies with their friends.

Road safety for children

There are many ways you can help your child to stay safe on the roads.

You can:

  • show them how to look for risks
  • practice road safety with them

We offer a range of road safety workshops including pedestrian and cycling training to schools.  Ask your school when they are running them and when your child can attend.

You can use OpenStreetMap or Google maps to plan a safer route on quieter roads, cycle paths and footpaths.


Check that your child’s bike is safe to ride regularly. Simple checks and maintenance can help them have a smooth ride to school, learn valuable skills and avoid repairs.
The Sustrans website has information on the M check that can help.

Ask your school when their next Bikeability course is if your child needs more confidence when riding their bike.

You can read more on the Bikeability cycle training programme.

Other things that can help

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