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Letter: there is too much traffic for Alex to walk to school, so we drive. A call to action based on a 42-year trend
  1. Christopher W Oliver1,
  2. Paul Kelly1,
  3. Dave du Feu2,
  4. Graham Baker1,
  5. Adrian Davis3,4
  1. 1 Physical Activity for Health Research Centre, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2 The Lothian Cycle Campaign, Edinburgh, UK
  3. 3 Transport Research Unit, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, UK
  4. 4 Faculty of Business and Law, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Christopher W Oliver, Physical Activity for Health Research Centre, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9YL, UK; chris.oliver{at}

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A call to action for safe routes for children

We, as physical activity researchers, clinicians, transport specialists and advocates, call on you to use your powers as a transport minister to drastically step up your programme of infrastructure and behaviour change.1 ,i This is to help children travel safely and actively for local journeys within their communities by addressing parental/carer fears for their safety.

Such a change requires dedicated funding of at least 10% of the national transport budgets to pay for infrastructure interventions supported by a behaviour change programme. This was first proposed and justified in a reportii by the Association of Directors of Public Health as long ago as 2008, endorsed by over 100 concerned academic, health, transport and other organisations. Scotland has made a very welcome start with the doubling of funding for active travel from the Scottish Government, announced in 2017. This gives momentum to the local authorities keen to see a step change in active …

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  • i The call to action has been made in a paper published today. See: Oliver et al. 1

  • ii

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Author note Open letter addressed to four transport ministers in the UK: Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands, Scotland; Karen Bradley, MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland; Ken Skates, MP, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport, Wales; Chris Grayling, MP, Secretary of State for Transport, England.

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