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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 103, Supplement 3, pp S35–S41 | Cite as

There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather, Just the Wrong Clothing: Climate, Weather and Active School Transportation in Toronto, Canada

  • Raktim MitraEmail author
  • Guy Faulkner
Quantitative Research
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

Objective

Climatic conditions may enable or deter active school transportation in many North American cities, but the topic remains largely overlooked in the existing literature. This study explores the effect of seasonal climate (i.e., fall versus winter) and weekly weather conditions (i.e., temperature, precipitation) on active travelling to school across different built and policy environments.

Methods

Home-to-school trips by 11–12-year-old children in the City of Toronto were examined using data from the 2006 Transportation Tomorrow Survey. Binomial logistic regressions were estimated to explore the correlates of the choice of active (i.e., walking) versus non-active (i.e., private automobile, transit and school bus) mode for school trips.

Results

Climate and weather-related variables were not associated with choice of school travel mode. Children living within the sidewalk snow-plough zone (i.e., in the inner-suburban neighbourhoods) were less likely to walk to school than children living outside of the zone (i.e., in the inner-city neighbourhoods).

Conclusion

Given that seasonality and short-term weather conditions appear not to limit active school transportation in general, built environment interventions designed to facilitate active travel could have benefits that spill over across the entire year rather than being limited to a particular season. Educational campaigns with strategies for making the trip fun and ensuring that the appropriate clothing choices are made are also warranted in complementing built environment modifications.

Key words

Climate weather school travel walking built environment 

Mots clés

climat temps transport scolaire marche milieu bâti 

Résumé

Objectif

Les conditions climatiques pourraient favoriser ou entraver le transport scolaire actif dans de nombreuses villes d’Amérique du Nord, mais ce sujet est en grande partie inexploré dans la recherche existante. Notre étude porte sur l’effet du climat saisonnier (p. ex., automnal ou hivernal) et des conditions atmosphériques hebdomadaires (température, précipitations) sur le transport scolaire actif dans différents milieux bâtis et environnements politiques.

Méthode

Nous avons examiné les trajets de la maison à l’école d’enfants de 11 et 12 ans vivant à Toronto à l’aide des données du Sondage pour le système de transports de demain de 2006. Des régressions logistiques binomiales ont été estimées pour explorer les corrélats du choix d’un mode de transport actif (comme la marche) ou non actif (voiture privée, transports en commun, autobus scolaire) pour se rendre à l’école.

Résultats

Les variables liées au climat et à la météo n’étaient pas associées au choix du mode de transport scolaire. Les enfants vivant à l’intérieur de la zone de déneigement des trottoirs (c.-à-d. dans les quartiers de la proche banlieue) étaient moins susceptibles de se rendre à l’école en marchant que les enfants vivant hors de cette zone (c.-à-d. dans les quartiers du centre-ville).

Conclusion

Étant donné que les cycles saisonniers et les conditions atmosphériques de courte durée ne semblent pas limiter le transport scolaire actif en général, les interventions sur le milieu bâti conçues pour faciliter les déplacements actifs pourraient avoir des répercussions positives toute l’année plutôt que de se limiter à une saison particulière. On devrait aussi envisager, pour compléter des modifications au milieu bâti, des campagnes de sensibilisation comportant des stratégies pour rendre le trajet amusant et pour aider les enfants à choisir des vêtements appropriés.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography and Program in PlanningUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical EducationUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.School of Urban and Regional PlanningRyerson UniversityTorontoCanada

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