Push to get children walking more
5:00AM Monday March 03, 2008
By Mathew Dearnaley

Transport educators hope to take some of the sting out of "March madness" traffic congestion this week by encouraging more children to walk to school.

Today's start to national Feet First Walk to School Week coincides with the return of university students to morning traffic peaks, a traditional recipe for severe congestion until more regular travel patterns begin to absorb an annual 4 per cent increase in vehicles on Auckland roads.

But the Auckland Regional Transport Authority expects some relief from the participation of almost 60,000 children from 138 Auckland primary schools in walking activities this week - more than twice as many as last year.

They will be among 140,000 children throughout the country expected to walk to school in a campaign led by Land Transport NZ and backed by sponsors ranging from podiatrists to breakfast food and insurance companies.

Auckland transport authority chief executive Fergus Gammie said the campaign was aimed at combating an increase in the proportion of children being driven to school each day from 31 per cent in 1990 to more than 50 per cent today.

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