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'Walking buses' show increase in take up of active travel

Published: 16 December 2022

Research by Public Health Wales to survey the evidence landscape around interventions to increase active travel, has shown that the introduction of ‘walking bus’ initiatives are among the plans most likely to increase the numbers of children walking to school. 

The research looked at studies of interventions that had taken place in the UK and internationally, assessed their effectiveness, and highlighted what to consider next if policy makers are planning to implement a similar intervention.  

Walking buses consist of volunteer parents chaperoning groups of children as they walk to school, and these initiatives have been implemented in a range of different areas, with all the studies examined favouring the activities. 

In addition, the research has shown that increasing education and promotion of active travel opportunities has had a positive impact on the numbers of people choosing to take journeys by bike or foot. 

An increase in educational measures, such as providing information packs, and training eco-travel coordinators were looked at, alongside marketing activities like celebration events and guided walks. 

Other successful projects included national media campaigns to target workers and encourage them to walk rather than drive, and multicomponent initiatives that were implemented across a town or region to increase cycling. 

Amy Hookway, Principal Evidence and Knowledge Analyst for Public Health Wales, said:

“Our research looked at 87 studies of different interventions to promote active travel.   

“We assessed the evidence of the effectiveness, the quality of the research, and the generalisability – whether the intervention is suitable to be implemented in Wales.

“The interventions that we have identified will require further context-specific research into how they can be applied to Wales, but this report is a useful tool for policymakers as they look at potential interventions in this area.” 

The active travel topic evidence summary is a new type of product created by the evidence service at PHW, and as such, we would welcome any feedback on the design and usability of the product. Feedback should be sent to