Environmental characteristics and school travels made by foot or bicycle : a case study of four compulsory schools in Sweden

University essay from SLU/Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management (from 130101)

Abstract: Children's active and independent school travels have in recent decades decreased considerably. What determines the travel mode choice among children is complex, as there are several social and environmental factors impacting how children travel. It is not clear to what extent characteristics of the environment are influencing children's school travel behaviour. This thesis aims to study this relationship by comparing children's travel mode choice at four Swedish compulsory schools, with characteristics of the environment around the schools. The study is based on travel mode data collected by the research project Kidscape II. GIS-based methods were used to map environmental variables around the schools. These were based on Mitra's (2013) conceptual framework of the environment and school travel behaviour. Walking and cycling were studied as two separate travel mode choices. Differences in travel mode choice was found between the four schools. The mapping of environmental features gave a comprehensive description of the environment around the schools, which contributed to the understanding of travel mode choice at the four schools. The relationship between travel mode choice and environmental variables was tested for correlation with Spearman’s ranked correlation test. The findings from this test indicate a relationship between walking and cycling and the environmental variables child population density and proportion of buildings with an “eyes on the street”-effect. The indication of a relationship in this data does not demonstrate evidence in a general sense, but shows variables that would be interesting to study on a larger scale, using more spatially detailed travel data

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