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Johnny Walks to School - Does Jane? Sex Differences in Children's Active Travel to School


  • McMillan, Tracy
  • Day, Kristen
  • Boarnet, Marlon
  • Alfonzo, Mariela
  • Anderson, Craig


Communities are traditionally built with one transportation mode and user in mind—the adult automobile driver. Recently, however, there has been an international focus on the trip to school as an opportunity to enhance children’s independent active travel. Several factors must be considered when designing programs to promote walking and bicycling. This paper examined the influence of child sex on caregivers’ decisions about travel mode choice to school. Caregivers of children in grades three to five from ten California Safe Routes to School communities were surveyed on their child’s normal travel mode to school and factors that determined travel decisions. Results indicate that the odds of walking and bicycling to school are 40 percent lower in girls than boys; however, this relationship is significantly moderated by the caregiver’s own walking behavior. The findings suggest that programs that focus on increasing children’s active travel to school should consider multiple influences on health behavior, including the neighborhood physical activity of parents.

Suggested Citation

  • McMillan, Tracy & Day, Kristen & Boarnet, Marlon & Alfonzo, Mariela & Anderson, Craig, 2006. "Johnny Walks to School - Does Jane? Sex Differences in Children's Active Travel to School," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt22f7k6z8, University of California Transportation Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:uctcwp:qt22f7k6z8

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. McDonald, Noreen C., 2005. "Children’s Travel: Patterns and Influences," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt51c9m01c, University of California Transportation Center.
    2. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2004:94:9:1477_1 is not listed on IDEAS
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    1. repec:kap:transp:v:45:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s11116-016-9737-z is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Goeverden, C.D. van & Boer, E. de, 2013. "School travel behaviour in the Netherlands and Flanders," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 73-84.
    3. Schneider, Robert James, 2011. "Understanding Sustainable Transportation Choices: Shifting Routine Automobile Travel to Walking and Bicycling," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt06v2g6dh, University of California Transportation Center.
    4. Ermagun, Alireza & Samimi, Amir, 2015. "Promoting active transportation modes in school trips," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 203-211.
    5. Schneider, Robert J., 2013. "Theory of routine mode choice decisions: An operational framework to increase sustainable transportation," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 128-137.
    6. Curtis, Carey & Babb, Courtney & Olaru, Doina, 2015. "Built environment and children's travel to school," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 21-33.
    7. Stewart, Orion & Vernez Moudon, Anne & Claybrooke, Charlotte, 2012. "Common ground: Eight factors that influence walking and biking to school," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 240-248.
    8. Idlir Licaj & Mouloud Haddak & Pascal Pochet & Mireille Chiron, 2011. "Contextual deprivation, daily travel and road traffic injuries among the young in the Rhône Département (France)," Post-Print halshs-00579719, HAL.
    9. Hsin-Ping Hsu & Jean-Daniel Saphores, 2014. "Impacts of parental gender and attitudes on children’s school travel mode and parental chauffeuring behavior: results for California based on the 2009 National Household Travel Survey," Transportation, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 543-565, May.
    10. repec:eee:jotrge:v:66:y:2018:i:c:p:283-290 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Susilo, Yusak & Liu, Chengxi & Börjesson, Maria, 2018. "The changes of activity-travel participation across gender, life-cycle, and generations in Sweden over 30 years," Working papers in Transport Economics 2018:8, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).


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