Photo courtesy National Center for Safe Routes to Schools

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By LaKenya McClough, MPH

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“Doing the right thing for the environment can be a win-win for both people and our planet.”

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A recent study by the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program showed that providing safer bike and walking routes to school would benefit both students and the environment. Historically, research shows that by making small changes to a person’s daily routine, such as walking or riding a bike, instead of driving to a routine destination, increases physical activity and decreases traffic congestion. Safer bike routes can be a winning solution in terms of healthier kids as physical activity reduces a child’s risk for obesity and diabetes; and provides a mechanism for reducing driving which results in cleaner air and fewer fuel burning cars on the road!

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The SRTS program believes that by focusing the goal on increasing “the number of children who regularly walk and bicycle to school” they may also help reduce fuel consumption and vehicle emissions. All of which will help to improve the air quality in and around schools and reduce the overall amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the air. The study promotes the idea that doing the right thing for the environment is a win-win for people and the planet.

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The study highlights the relationship and some of the contributing factors between driving to school and air pollution. A particular focus is on a discussion on measuring the environmental health impacts of school travel, and estimating the impact of other activities on local air quality and carbon dioxide emissions.” The study concluded that providing alternative safe routes for children creates an opportunity for students and families a way to improve physical health (by walking or riding bikes as an alternative to driving) and protects the environment.

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Click here to read the full report.

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