Children's route choice during active transportation to school: difference between shortest and actual route

Dessing, Dirk, de Vries, Sanne I., Hegeman, Geertje, Verhagen, Evert, van Mechelen, Willem and Pierik, Frank H. (2016) Children's route choice during active transportation to school: difference between shortest and actual route. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 13 48: . doi:10.1186/s12966-016-0373-y


Author Dessing, Dirk
de Vries, Sanne I.
Hegeman, Geertje
Verhagen, Evert
van Mechelen, Willem
Pierik, Frank H.
Title Children's route choice during active transportation to school: difference between shortest and actual route
Journal name International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1479-5868
Publication date 2016-04-12
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1186/s12966-016-0373-y
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 13
Issue 48
Total pages 11
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher BioMed Central
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: The purpose of this study is to increase our understanding of environmental correlates that are associated with route choice during active transportation to school (ATS) by comparing characteristics of actual walking and cycling routes between home and school with the shortest possible route to school.

Methods: Children (n = 184; 86 boys, 98 girls; age range: 8-12 years) from seven schools in suburban municipalities in the Netherlands participated in the study. Actual walking and cycling routes to school were measured with a GPS-device that children wore during an entire school week. Measurements were conducted in the period April-June 2014. Route characteristics for both actual and shortest routes between home and school were determined for a buffer of 25 m from the routes and divided into four categories: Land use (residential, commercial, recreational, traffic areas), Aesthetics (presence of greenery/natural water ways along route), Traffic (safety measures such as traffic lights, zebra crossings, speed bumps) and Type of street (pedestrian, cycling, residential streets, arterial roads). Comparison of characteristics of shortest and actual routes was performed with conditional logistic regression models.

Results: Median distance of the actual walking routes was 390.1 m, whereas median distance of actual cycling routes was 673.9 m. Actual walking and cycling routes were not significantly longer than the shortest possible routes. Children mainly traveled through residential areas on their way to school (>80 % of the route). Traffic lights were found to be positively associated with route choice during ATS. Zebra crossings were less often present along the actual routes (walking: OR = 0.17, 95 % CI = 0.05-0.58; cycling: OR = 0.31, 95 % CI = 0.14-0.67), and streets with a high occurrence of accidents were less often used during cycling to school (OR = 0.57, 95 % CI = 0.43-0.76). Moreover, percentage of visible surface water along the actual route was higher compared to the shortest routes (walking: OR = 1.04, 95 % CI = 1.01-1.07; cycling: OR = 1.03, 95 % CI = 1.01-1.05).

Discussion: This study showed a novel approach to examine built environmental exposure during active transport to school. Most of the results of the study suggest that children avoid to walk or cycle along busy roads on their way to school.
Keyword Elementary school
Children
Global Positioning System (GPS)
Built environment
GIS
Active transportation
Walking
Cycling
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences Publications
 
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