Built Environment and School Travel Mode Choice in Toronto, Canada

Walking to or from school may provide a regular source of physical activity for children and youth. To improve walking practices among this younger population, urban planners emphasize the importance of built environment interventions. Empirical understanding of the potential relationship between the built environment and active school transportation (e.g., walking) is therefore essential to the development of effective planning interventions. In the nexus of empiricism and policy, place-based differences in school transport policy and urbanization processes, which may associate with mode choice, provide the rationale for conducting local research to support local policy development. This study examines the association between the built environment and the likelihood of walking or being driven to or from school. The research also addresses differences in mode choice behavior across morning and afternoon school trips. Binomial logit models were specified to study the school travel outcomes of children aged 11 to 13 years in the city of Toronto, Canada. Distance between the residence and school had the strongest correlation with mode choice; other built environment measures had moderate associations with walking. Importantly, the built environment around a child’s residence had a stronger association with mode choice than did the built environment around the school. Furthermore, the effect of the built environment was more apparent for home-to-school trips. This research provides evidence that the built environment may influence school travel mode choice, but planners and community-based organizations should exercise caution when the nature of interventions required to encourage walking among children is determined.


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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01155147
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780309142915
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 10-1443
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jan 25 2010 10:39AM