As the days get shorter and it gets colder, choosing to jump in the car for school drop off rather than walking or cycling seems an obvious choice. However, this decision results in 254,000 car trips a day in London, of which one third could be walked in under 25 minutes! With Sadiq Khan labelling the toxic air pollution in London a ‘major public health crisis’ requiring ‘bold action’, we were interested to hear the views of young people on this matter at Transport for London’s recent STARS seminar series.
The STARS accreditation scheme (Sustainable Travel: Active, Responsible, Safe) aims to inspire young Londoners to think differently about travel and its impact on their health, wellbeing and the environment. Now in its twelfth year, the accreditation scheme has grown from 180 schools in 2007 to 1,465 in 2018.
For the second year in a row, we were thrilled to be involved in running a series of seminars for schools from every Borough, delivering workshops to help schools to develop new skills, share stories and celebrate their STARS journey so far.
As well as being commended on their achievements, delegates from 200 schools came together at The Oval and City Hall to brainstorm and share activity ideas. The seminars encouraged pupils and their teachers to be solution-focused and adopt safe and active travel behaviour at their school through events such as Walk to School Week, Bikeability and anti-idling campaigns. This year, 686 schools were awarded a Gold accreditation – more than ever before.
The STARS scheme and the Walking Action Plan are part of the Mayor's Transport Strategy, which aims for 80% of journeys to be made by walking, cycling or public transport. If everyone was as committed as those who attended the STARS seminars, achieving this goal would be much easier.