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The relative influence of urban form on a child's travel mode to school

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  • McMillan, Tracy E.

Abstract

Walking and bicycling to school has decreased in recent years, while private vehicle travel has increased. Policies and programs focusing on urban form improvements such as Safe Routes to School were created to address this mode shift and possible related children's health issues, despite minimal research showing the influence of urban form on children's travel and health. This research examined: (1) the influence of objectively measured urban form on travel mode to school and; (2) the magnitude of influence urban form and non-urban form factors have on children's travel behavior. The results of the analysis support the hypothesis that urban form is important but not the sole factor that influences school travel mode choice. Other factors may be equally important such as perceptions of neighborhood safety and traffic safety, household transportation options, and social/cultural norms. Odds ratios indicate that the magnitude of influence of these latter factors is greater than that of urban form; however, model improvement tests found that urban form contributed significantly to model fit. This research provides evidence that urban form is an influential factor in non-motorized travel behavior and therefore is a possible intervention to target through programs such as Safe Routes to School.

Suggested Citation

  • McMillan, Tracy E., 2007. "The relative influence of urban form on a child's travel mode to school," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 69-79, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:41:y:2007:i:1:p:69-79
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    1. Boarnet, Marlon G. & Anderson, Craig L. & Day, Kristen & McMillan, Tracy & Alfonzo, Mariela, 2006. "Evaluation of the California Safe Routes to School Legislation: Urban Form Changes and Children's Active Transportation to School," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt3vd3g3jm, University of California Transportation Center.
    2. Pikora, Terri & Giles-Corti, Billie & Bull, Fiona & Jamrozik, Konrad & Donovan, Rob, 2003. "Developing a framework for assessment of the environmental determinants of walking and cycling," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1693-1703, April.
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