Comment: Time to take action on young people’s travel
Barbara Hearn, deputy chief executive, NCB
Thursday 24 September 2009
Recent government guidance on children and
young people's access to positive activities represents a positive
step towards recognising the centrality of safe, affordable and
accessible transport to wellbeing.
When we stop to imagine how children and young people can be
assisted in realising the Every Child Matters outcomes, it becomes
clear just how crucial transport is to being healthy, staying safe,
enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution and
achieving economic wellbeing.
And yet children and young people still face many barriers to
travel, including high and inconsistent costs, safety fears, poor
travel information and inappropriate scheduling. These can lead to
poor access - not only to positive leisure, sporting and cultural
activities, but to crucial education, training and employment
opportunities. Poor public transport increases children's
dependence on car travel, increasing their risk of road traffic
accidents and reducing their independence and likelihood of using
more environmentally sustainable modes of transport through
If we are to help today's generation develop a life-long
relationship with public transport, much work needs to be done so
that high costs, poor services and personal safety fears no longer
influence a young person's decision about how to get to college, a
job interview or even a football game. With such high numbers not
in employment, education or training and university places
oversubscribed, it is crucial that young people have improved
access to the opportunities that do exist.
NCB is therefore calling on directors of children's services and
transport authorities to work with young people and use the
government's recent Transport Guidance: Supporting Access to
Positive Activities as a basis to ensure that the travel needs of
all community members are met.
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