Examining the Transport to School Patterns of New Zealand Adolescents by Home-to-School Distance and Settlement Types

Mandic, S
García Bengoechea, E
Hopkins, D
Coppell, K
Smith, M
Moore, A
Keall, M
Ergler, C
Sandretto, S
Wilson, G
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Journal Article
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Elsevier BV

Background: Scholarship on active transport to school has largely focused on children, (large) urban areas, the umbrella term of “active transport” which considered walking and cycling together and without taking into account walking and/or cycling distance. This research examined adolescents’ patterns of transport to school in diverse settlement types and in relation to home-to-school distance in the Otago region of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Methods: Patterns of transport to school by home-to-school distance, and across school locations, are described for a sample of 2,403 adolescents (age: 15.1 ± 1.4 years; 55% females) attending 23 out of 27 schools in large urban areas (n = 1,309; 11 schools), medium urban areas (n = 265; three schools), small urban areas (n = 652; four schools) and rural settings (n = 177; five schools). Empirical data were collected through an online survey, in which adolescents reported sociodemographic characteristics, travel to school, and perceptions of walking and cycling. Home-to-school distance was measured on the shortest route determined using Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-based network analysis.

Results: Transport to school patterns differed significantly by home-to-school distance and across settlement types. Profiles of different transport user groups showed significant variability in sociodemographic characteristics, family factors, average distance to school, self-reported physical activity, and perceived health.

Conclusions: Initiatives to promote active transport and reduce reliance on car transport to school, whether to improve health and the environment or to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, need to pay closer attention to the settlement types, distance to school, and characteristics of different transport user modes.

33 Built Environment and Design , 4206 Public Health , 42 Health Sciences , 3304 Urban and Regional Planning , Behavioral and Social Science , Pediatric , Cardiovascular , 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities , 13 Climate Action , 1117 Public Health and Health Services , 1205 Urban and Regional Planning , 1507 Transportation and Freight Services , 3304 Urban and regional planning , 3509 Transportation, logistics and supply chains , 4206 Public health
Journal of Transport and Health, ISSN: 2214-1405 (Print), Elsevier BV, 30, 101585-101585. doi: 10.1016/j.jth.2023.101585
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