Association Between Perceived and Objective Measures of School Neighbourhood Built Environment and Active Transport to School in New Zealand Adolescents
School neighbourhood built environment (BE) characteristics are related to active transport to school (ATS) among adolescents. This study examined objectively measured and perceived school neighbourhood BE correlates of ATS in adolescents and compared school neighbourhood BE features in rural versus small-to-medium urban areas. We analysed data from adolescents (n=95; 68.4% under 16 years of age; 58.9% female) from 11 schools located in small-to-medium urban areas and rural settings in Otago, New Zealand, who were familiar with their school neighbourhood environment and living within 4.8 km from school. Adolescents reported perceptions of their school neighbourhood using a modified version of Neighbourhood Environment Walkability Scale for Youth (NEWS-Y) questionnaire. Objectively measured BE features were generated using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). In a multivariate analysis, perceived residential density (odds ratio (95% CI): 0.17 (0.04, 0.82)) and traffic safety concerns (0.13(0.02, 0.95)) were negatively associated with adolescents' ATS rates, but those associations were no longer significant once distance to school was taken into account. Compared to small-to-medium urban area schools, perceived land use mix diversity and recreational facilities and objectively measured intersection density in school neighbourhoods were higher, whereas perceived residential density and land use mix accessibility and objectively measured neighbourhood walkability were lower in rural schools (all p < 0.05). Future initiatives should address both perceived and objectively measured school neighbourhood BE to promote ATS among adolescents.