Transportation

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 23–35 | Cite as

Children’s mode choice for the school trip: the role of distance and school location in walking to school

Article

Abstract

Rising levels of childhood obesity in the United States and a 75% decline in the proportion of children walking to school in the past 30 years have focused attention on school travel. This paper uses data from the US Department of Transportation’s 2001 National Household Travel Survey to analyze the factors affecting mode choice for elementary and middle school children. The analysis shows that walk travel time is the most policy-relevant factor affecting the decision to walk to school with an estimated direct elasticity of −0.75. If policymakers want to increase walking rates, these findings suggest that current policies, such as Safe Routes to School, which do not affect the spatial distribution of schools and residences will not be enough to change travel behavior. The final part of the paper uses the mode choice model to test how a land use strategy—community schools—might affect walking to school. The results show that community schools have the potential to increase walking rates but would require large changes from current land use, school, and transportation planning practices.

Keywords

Children School travel Mode choice Community schools Walking 

References

  1. Ampt, E.: The travel of children in perspective: their exposure to the risk of accident. In: Hensher, D., King, J., Oum, T. (eds). Proceedings of the 7th world conference on transport research, pp. 343–356 (1996)Google Scholar
  2. Banerjee, T., Lynch, K.: Growing up in Cities: Studies of the Spatial Environment of Adolescence in Cracow, Melbourne, Mexico City, Salta, Toluca, and Warszawa. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA (1977)Google Scholar
  3. Beschen, D.: Transportation Characteristics of School Children. US Department of Transportation, Washington, DC (1972)Google Scholar
  4. Black, C., Collins, A., Snell, M.: Encouraging walking: the case of journey-to-school trips in compact urban areas. Urban Stud. 38(7), 1121–1141 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boarnet, M., Anderson, C., Day, K., McMillan, T., Alfonzo, M.: Evaluation of the California safe routes to school legislation: urban form changes and children’s active transportation to school. Am. J. Prev. Med. 28(2S2), 134–140 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bradshaw, R., Atkins, S.: The use of public transport for school journeys in London. Proceedings of seminar F: Public transport planning and operations, 2–6 September 1996, [14] Google Scholar
  7. Coleman, J.: Proposition 55’s narrow win opens flow of money to schools. Associated Press State & Local Wire (2004, March 4)Google Scholar
  8. Cooper, A., Page, A., Foster, L., Qahwaji, D.: Commuting to school: are children who walk more physically active. Am. J. Prev. Med. 25(4), 273–276 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Council of Educational Facility Planners, International.: Creating Connections: The CEFPI Guide to Educational Facility Planning. Council of Education Facility Planners International, Scottsdale AZ (2004)Google Scholar
  10. Council of Educational Facility Planners, International.: Guide for Planning Educational Facilities. Council of Education Facility Planners International, Scottsdale AZ (1991)Google Scholar
  11. Council of Educational Facility Planners, International, & Environmental Protection Agency.: Schools for Successful Communities: An Element of Smart Growth Planning. Council of Education Facility Planners International, Scottsdale, AZ (2004)Google Scholar
  12. diGuiseppi C., Roberts, I., Li, L., Allen, D.: Determinants of car travel on daily journeys to school: cross sectional survey of primary school children. Brit. Med. J. 316, 1426–1428 (1998)Google Scholar
  13. Evenson, K., Huston, S., McMillen B., Bors, P., Ward, D.: Statewide prevalence and correlates of walking and biking to school. Arch. Pediatr. Adol. Med. 157, 887–892 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ewing, R., Greene, W.: Travel and Environmental Implications of School Siting. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC (2003)Google Scholar
  15. Gurwitt, R.: Edge-location: what compels communities to build schools in the middle of nowhere? Governing Magazine, March 2004 (2004)Google Scholar
  16. Hillman, M., Adams, J., Whitelegg, J.: One False Move ...: A Study of Children’s Independent Mobility. Policy Studies Institute, London (1990)Google Scholar
  17. Jackson R.: The impact of the built environment on health: an emerging field Am. J. Public Health 93(9), 1382–1384 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kann, L., Kinchen, S., Williams, B., Ross, J., Lowry, R., Hill, C. et al.: Youth risk behavior surveillance: United States 1997. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 47(SS-3), 1–89 (1998)Google Scholar
  19. Martin, S., Carlson, S.: Barriers to children walking to or from school – United States, 2004. Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report 54, 949–952 (2005)Google Scholar
  20. McDonald, N.: Active transportation to school: trends among U.S. schoolchildren, 1969–2001. Am. J. Prev. Med. 32(6), 509–516 (2007a)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. McDonald, N.: Travel and the social environment: evidence from Alameda County, California. Trans. Res. D 12, 53–63 (2007b)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. McMillan, T.: Johnny walks to school – Does Jane? Sex differences in children’s active travel to school. Child. Youth Environ. 16(1), 75–89 (2006)Google Scholar
  23. McMillan, T.: The relative influence of urban form on a child’s travel mode to school. Trans. Res. A 41, 69–79 (2007)Google Scholar
  24. Metcalf, B., Voss, L., Jeffery, A., Perkins, J., Wilkin, T.: Physical activity cost of the school run: impact on schoolchildren of being driven to school. Brit. Med. J. 329, 832–833 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. National Trust for Historical Preservation: Smart growth schools.: A fact sheet. Retrieved March, 2005 from http://www.nationaltrust.org/issues/schools/schools_smartgrowth_facts.pdf (2003)
  26. New Jersey Schools Construction Corporation.: Overview. Retrieved April, 2005 from http://www.njscc.com/general_info/index.asp (2005)Google Scholar
  27. O’Brien, M., Jones, D., Sloan, D., Rustin, M.: Children’s independent spatial mobility in the urban public realm. Childhood 7(3), 257–277 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ogden, C., Carroll, M., Curtin, L., McDowell, M., Tabak, C., Flegal, K.: Prevalence of overweight and obesity in the United States, 1999–2004. J. Am. Med. Assoc. 295(13), 1549–1555 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Orfield, G.: Schools More Separate: Consequences of a Decade of Resegregation. Civil Rights Project, Cambridge, MA (2001)Google Scholar
  30. Perry, C.: Housing for the Machine Age. Russell Sage Foundation, New York (1939)Google Scholar
  31. Pucher, J., Renne, J.: Socioeconomics of urban travel: evidence from the 2001 NHTS. Trans. Quart. 57(3), 49–77 (2003)Google Scholar
  32. Rhoulac, T.: Automated vehicle location for school buses: can the benefits influence choice of mode for school trips? TR News 237, 17–21 (2003)Google Scholar
  33. Rickles, J., Ong, P., Houston, D.: School integration and residential segregation in California: Challenges for racial equity. Los Angeles, CA: University of California. April 2005, Retrieved from http://repositories.cdlib.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article = 1001&context = ucaccord (2004)Google Scholar
  34. Schlossberg, M., Greene, J., Paulsen, P., Johnson, B., Parker, B.: School trips: effects of urban form and distance on travel mode. J. Am. Plan. Assoc. 72(3), 337–346 (2006)Google Scholar
  35. Staunton, C.E., Hubsmith, D., Kallins, W.: Promoting safe walking and biking to school: the Marin County success story. Am. J. Public Health 93(9), 1431 (2003)Google Scholar
  36. Surface Transportation Policy Project, Transportation and Land Use Coalition, & Latino Issue Forum.: Can’t get there from here: The declining independent mobility of California’s children and youth (2003)Google Scholar
  37. Timperio, A., Ball, K., Salmon, J., Roberts, R., Giles-Corti, B., Simmons, D., Baur, L., Crawford, D.: Personal, family, social, and environmental correlates of active commuting to school. Am. J. Prev. Med., 30(1), 45–51 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Train, K.: Discrete Choice Models with Simulation. Cambridge University Press, New York (2003)Google Scholar
  39. Tudor-Locke, C., Ainsworth, B.E., Foster, L.J., Qahwaji, D.: Objective physical activity of Filipino youth stratified for commuting mode to school. Med. Sci. Sports Exer., 35, 465–471 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Tudor-Locke, C., Ainsworth, B.E., Popkin, B.M.: Active commuting to school: an overlooked source of children’s physical activity. Sports Med. 31(5), 309–313 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Tudor-Locke, C., Neff, L.J., Ainsworth, B.E., Addy, C.L., Popkin, B.M.: Omission of active commuting to school and the prevalence of children’s health-related physical activity levels: the Russian longitudinal monitoring study. Child: Care Health Dev. 28(6), 507–512 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. U.S. Department of Transportation.: 2001 NHTS User’s Guide. U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC (2004)Google Scholar
  43. Valentine, G.: “Oh yes I can.” “Oh no you can’t”: children and parents’ understandings of kids’ competence to negotiate public space safely. Antipode 29(1), 65–89 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Vliet, W.V.: Children’s travel behavior. Ekistics 298, 61–65 (1983)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of City & Regional PlanningUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

Personalised recommendations