The Big Travel Challenge is an initiative organised by Green-Schools Ireland to promote active travel on routes to school. Schools will be asked to promote one form of sustainable transport (walking, cycling, scooting or bus) and measure the increase in students using this mode of transport over any ten-day period in February. All entrants will have the chance to win a €1,000 cash prize to be used for their Green-Schools Travel Programme.
Discussing the challenge, Deputy Matthews said:
“I would encourage all eligible schools to take part in the ‘The Big Travel Challenge 2022’, which presents an enjoyable and engaging opportunity for children and parents to discover and embrace more sustainable ways of travelling to school. Switching from car-dependency to active transport will reduce air pollution around schools and promote healthier lifestyles for children. I hope that as many people as possible take up the initiative and if your school isn’t taking part – maybe ask them to consider it.
“I fully accept that completing the entire journey by bike, bus or on foot may not be possible for some students and families, particularly those living in rural areas, but it may be possible to change part of the journey. Maybe the last leg of the journey could be walked or part of it could be by bus but regardless of the circumstances, I hope that people can think creatively and participate if at all possible.
“This is a brilliant and fun way for schools to promote healthier and more active choices when it comes to the school commute and I hope that it will break the habit of hopping in the car in the morning for many people. This 10-day challenge is a great initiative, and it has my full support but it’s about the long-term changes that people make and I hope that this will be the push that many parents and students need to make the change to more environmentally sustainable choices for the school run.
“Transitioning to active modes of travel is a key commitment of the Programme for Government and it will support us in achieving the 51% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 as required under the new climate law. As a Green TD for Wicklow, I will continue to advocate for greater investment in sustainable modes of active transport and public transport that will decrease our car dependency, greenhouse gas emissions and create better and easier transport options for Wicklow and rural areas of the county in particular, concluded Deputy Matthews.