CREDIT: This story was first seen on STV News
A fresh round of funding has been launched to help create safer routes to schools across Scotland, STV News reports.
Safer Routes to School aims to introduce attractive and healthy options for pupils and parents who want to travel actively.
Educational institutions and local authorities across the country are now being urged to apply for the funding.
Matthew Macdonald, of Sustrans, said: “The journey to and from school is made by thousands of children across Scotland each day, however, we know that for many, worries over safety prevents them from travelling actively.
“The Safer Routes to School programme prioritises ambitious and innovative projects that create better places for children and their carers to walk, scooter, cycle and spend time in.
“Ensuring that families can travel safely to school by foot, bike or scooter is a vital step to helping improve their health and wellbeing and encourage healthy travel habits in children which can last a lifetime.”
The Scottish Government-funded project will see Sustrans work to create traffic-free routes which encourage children and their parents or guardians to travel on foot, by bike or scooter.
Projects aimed at tackling dangerous driving practices around school, creating priority crossings or increasing safety at school entrances have also been encouraged to apply.
In the coming months, Sustrans plans to target colleges and universities through by promoting funding available to make active travel a more realistic option for students.
Transport minister Humza Yousaf said: “Further improving road safety and encouraging active travel are priorities for the Scottish Government, and we are fully committed to working with local authorities and schools to prevent our children and young people from being exposed to risk on our roads.
“The doubling of the active travel budget for 2018/2019 has created an opportunity to realise our ambition to build an active nation.
“Schools and all places of education can now benefit alongside local authorities by creating friendlier and safer active travel routes across Scotland.
“The Safer Routes to School fund will help address people’s fears around safety and help to encourage more people to travel by foot and by bike every day.”
Research by Sustrans Scotland earlier this year found the main barrier for parents and carers encouraging children to travel more actively to school was fears over safety.
It found 42% of parents felt unsafe walking and cycling routes, inadequate pavements, ineffective crossings and dangerous driving were all major factors which prevented their children from walking, cycling or scootering to school.