Parental barriers to active transport to school: a systematic review

  • M. J. Aranda-BalboaEmail author
  • F. J. Huertas-Delgado
  • M. Herrador-Colmenero
  • G. Cardon
  • P. Chillón



We aimed to systematically review parental barriers towards children and adolescents’ active transport to school (ATS) in the scientific literature and to provide a categorization of the barriers identified in the studies.


A search was conducted through seven online databases, from the beginning of the database to March 2018.


A total of 27 of the identified studies met the inclusion criteria. The main parental barriers reported by parents of children (21 studies) were built environment, traffic safety, distance, crime-related safety and social support. The main parental barriers reported by parents of adolescents (6 studies) were built environment (street connectivity), distance, traffic safety and physical and motivation barriers. The parental barriers associated with ATS were mainly related to the built environment and traffic safety.


It is crucial to involve parents through interventions to reduce the perception of safety and to increase awareness of the importance of ATS. In addition, these strategies should be complemented by environmental changes performed by local governments.


Perceived barrier Family Active commuting Schoolchildren Adolescents 



This study will be part of a PhD thesis of the education programme of the University of Granada. We are grateful to Ms. Carmen Sainz Quinn and Ms. Ana Yara Postigo-Fuentes for their assistance with the English language.


This study was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) (DEP2016-75598-R, MINECO/FEDER, UE). Also, by a grant from the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports [CAST17/00072] and a R&D research staff contract, within the framework of the Spanish National Youth Guarantee funded by the Regional Government of Andalusia and the European Social Fund. Additionally, this study has been carried out thanks to funding from the University of Granada, UGR Research and Knowledge Transfer Fund (PPIT) 2016, Excellence Actions Programme. Units of Scientific Excellence; Scientific Unit of Excellence on Exercise and Health (UCEES), and by Regional Government of Andalusia, Regional Ministry of Economy, Knowledge, Enterprises and University and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) [SOMM17/6107/UGR].

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

38_2019_1313_MOESM1_ESM.doc (170 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 171 kb)


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical Education and Sport, PROFITH “PROmoting FITness and Health through Physical Activity” Research Group, Sport and Health University Research Institute (iMUDS), Faculty of Sport SciencesUniversity of GranadaGranadaSpain
  2. 2.Teaching Centre La InmaculadaUniversity of GranadaGranadaSpain
  3. 3.Department of Movement and Sports Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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