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Reducing Children's Car Use
According to the National Travel Survey, between 1985/86 and 1995/97 children aged 16 or less increased the percentage of their trips by car from 35% to 48%. Over the same period the percentage of trips to school by car went up from 16% to 29%. These trends have led to significant decreases in the amounts of walking and cycling by children. Whilst the reasons for these shifts are fairly clear: parental concern about traffic and possible abduction, and changing lifestyles linked to increased decentralisation, it is also clear that they may lead to significant problems. As the 1998 White Paper on Transport says: `Not walking or cycling to school means that children get much less exercise and builds in car dependency at an early age'. Whilst there is an intuitive logic to this statement, it raises a number of important research issues. The overall aim of this project is to address these issues. The project was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The grant started in January 2001 and was completed in February 2004. The research was carried out at the Centre for Transport Studies at University College London (UCL) in collaboration with the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine at UCL, the Children's Health and Exercise Research Centre at the University of Exeter, the Department of Public Health at the University of Oxford, the Environment Department of Hertfordshire County Council and Royston, Buntingford & Bishop's Stortford Primary Care Trust.
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