Getting more children walking and cycling to school: Insights from parents in three Australian cities

Hitomi NAKANISHI, Amelia Dillon, Paul Tranter

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contribution

Abstract

The number of children walking or cycling to school in Australia has significantly decreased since the 1970s, while the number transported by car has steadily increased. This is affecting children’s level of physical activity and associated mental health. One of the key factors affecting the changing travel mode choice to school is the parental fear of traffic danger. This research investigates parental concerns about their children’s journeys to school using qualitative surveys in three cities in Australia: Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney. The narrative inquiry method guides the understanding of the main concerns of parents regarding the circumstances of routes to school, conditions of pedestrian and cycling paths and traffic around schools. The findings show that most parents worry about the lack of separation between cycle paths and lanes and motorised traffic, particularly those with higher speed limits. Parents concerned about safety around schools drive more, making the streets in school zones even less safe for walking or cycling. We discuss how reducing the speed of motorised traffic in residential streets will improve the traffic safety of children walking or cycling to school, as well as improve the community surveillance that could reduce concerns about stranger danger. The paper concludes with a discussion of the relationships between: restricted speed on community streets; the perceived safety of children’s travel to school; children’s involvement in outdoor activities; and the mental and physical health of children.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAustralasian Transport Research Forum 2017 Proceedings
PublisherAustralasian Transport Research Forum Incorporated
Pages1-12
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventAustralasian Transport Research Forum 2017 - Auckland, New Zealand
Duration: 27 Nov 201929 Nov 2019

Conference

ConferenceAustralasian Transport Research Forum 2017
CountryNew Zealand
CityAuckland
Period27/11/1929/11/19

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