Nine out of ten children in Auckland, New Zealand, prefer to walk or cycle to school, new research reveals.
Auckland, at the top of the country’s North Island, is the largest city in New Zealand, with a population of approximately 1,454,000, more than three times larger than the capital Wellington.
The Auckland University of Technology (AUT) surveyed local schoolchildren, asking them what they thought about their morning trip to school – the first such study anywhere in the world. An overwhelming majority – 96 per cent – said they would like to go on foot or ride their bicycles if given a choice.
They could talk to their friends and enjoy the fresh air the youngsters explained.
Their preference reflected the fact that most children in the city are now driven to school – the proportion has risen to 55 per cent, close to double the figure 25 years ago.
Study author Erica Hinckson said she hoped the result would inspire more schools to encourage families to be more active and leave their cars at home.
“We need to get our children active and make our cities child-friendly. There is so many benefits to it. The kids want to be out there, not sitting in the car.”
A decrease in school traffic would also cut congestion on Auckland’s roads, she noted.