Associations between parents' perception of traffic danger, the built environment and walking to school

L. Rothman, Ron Buliung, Teresa To, Colin Macarthur, Alison Macpherson, Andrew Howard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Background
Walking to school is an important source of physical activity for children. Parents are the key decision makers regarding school travel mode, with parents׳ perceptions of traffic safety being an important factor in the decision making process. The study examines the relationships between perceptions of traffic danger, walking to school and built environment features.
Methods
A cross-sectional parent survey was conducted in 2011, in 20 elementary schools in Toronto, Canada. Built environment data from municipal sources were mapped onto school attendance boundaries developed by the school board which identified household eligibility for attendance at each school. Repeated-measures logistic regression was used to examine the associations between frequent walking to school (4–5 times/weekly) and parents׳ perceptions of traffic danger along the school route and at the school site, and between perceptions of high levels of school route traffic danger and social and built environment variables.
Results
The response rate was 38% with 733 surveys returned. The odds of frequent walking to school were 47% lower with high perceived school route traffic danger, but walking was unrelated to perceived school site traffic danger. Higher perceived route danger was associated with observation of dangerous midblock crossings near schools (OR 1.97), higher flashing beacon density (OR 1.31) and lower dead-end road (OR 0.70), collector road (OR 0.80) traffic light (OR 0.80) and school crossing guard densities (OR 0.89).
Conclusions
High perceived school route but not school site danger, was related to frequent walking to school and to specific built environment features. Parents׳ perception of danger is not always in accordance with objective measures of traffic danger. Safe road design along school routes is important to influence traffic safety and walking to school; however, safe road design must also be directed to the immediate school environment where collision densities are high.
Keywords: Walking, Schools, Child, Traffic danger, Parent perception, Built environment
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-335
JournalJournal of Transport & Health
Volume2
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Walking
  • Schools
  • Child
  • Traffic danger
  • Parent perception
  • Built environment

Cite this

Rothman, L. ; Buliung, Ron ; To, Teresa ; Macarthur, Colin ; Macpherson, Alison ; Howard, Andrew. / Associations between parents' perception of traffic danger, the built environment and walking to school. In: Journal of Transport & Health. 2015 ; Vol. 2, No. 3. pp. 327-335.
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title = "Associations between parents' perception of traffic danger, the built environment and walking to school",
abstract = "BackgroundWalking to school is an important source of physical activity for children. Parents are the key decision makers regarding school travel mode, with parents׳ perceptions of traffic safety being an important factor in the decision making process. The study examines the relationships between perceptions of traffic danger, walking to school and built environment features.MethodsA cross-sectional parent survey was conducted in 2011, in 20 elementary schools in Toronto, Canada. Built environment data from municipal sources were mapped onto school attendance boundaries developed by the school board which identified household eligibility for attendance at each school. Repeated-measures logistic regression was used to examine the associations between frequent walking to school (4–5 times/weekly) and parents׳ perceptions of traffic danger along the school route and at the school site, and between perceptions of high levels of school route traffic danger and social and built environment variables.ResultsThe response rate was 38{\%} with 733 surveys returned. The odds of frequent walking to school were 47{\%} lower with high perceived school route traffic danger, but walking was unrelated to perceived school site traffic danger. Higher perceived route danger was associated with observation of dangerous midblock crossings near schools (OR 1.97), higher flashing beacon density (OR 1.31) and lower dead-end road (OR 0.70), collector road (OR 0.80) traffic light (OR 0.80) and school crossing guard densities (OR 0.89).ConclusionsHigh perceived school route but not school site danger, was related to frequent walking to school and to specific built environment features. Parents׳ perception of danger is not always in accordance with objective measures of traffic danger. Safe road design along school routes is important to influence traffic safety and walking to school; however, safe road design must also be directed to the immediate school environment where collision densities are high.Keywords: Walking, Schools, Child, Traffic danger, Parent perception, Built environment",
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Associations between parents' perception of traffic danger, the built environment and walking to school. / Rothman, L.; Buliung, Ron; To, Teresa; Macarthur, Colin; Macpherson, Alison; Howard, Andrew.

In: Journal of Transport & Health, Vol. 2, No. 3, 2015, p. 327-335.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Associations between parents' perception of traffic danger, the built environment and walking to school

AU - Rothman, L.

AU - Buliung, Ron

AU - To, Teresa

AU - Macarthur, Colin

AU - Macpherson, Alison

AU - Howard, Andrew

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - BackgroundWalking to school is an important source of physical activity for children. Parents are the key decision makers regarding school travel mode, with parents׳ perceptions of traffic safety being an important factor in the decision making process. The study examines the relationships between perceptions of traffic danger, walking to school and built environment features.MethodsA cross-sectional parent survey was conducted in 2011, in 20 elementary schools in Toronto, Canada. Built environment data from municipal sources were mapped onto school attendance boundaries developed by the school board which identified household eligibility for attendance at each school. Repeated-measures logistic regression was used to examine the associations between frequent walking to school (4–5 times/weekly) and parents׳ perceptions of traffic danger along the school route and at the school site, and between perceptions of high levels of school route traffic danger and social and built environment variables.ResultsThe response rate was 38% with 733 surveys returned. The odds of frequent walking to school were 47% lower with high perceived school route traffic danger, but walking was unrelated to perceived school site traffic danger. Higher perceived route danger was associated with observation of dangerous midblock crossings near schools (OR 1.97), higher flashing beacon density (OR 1.31) and lower dead-end road (OR 0.70), collector road (OR 0.80) traffic light (OR 0.80) and school crossing guard densities (OR 0.89).ConclusionsHigh perceived school route but not school site danger, was related to frequent walking to school and to specific built environment features. Parents׳ perception of danger is not always in accordance with objective measures of traffic danger. Safe road design along school routes is important to influence traffic safety and walking to school; however, safe road design must also be directed to the immediate school environment where collision densities are high.Keywords: Walking, Schools, Child, Traffic danger, Parent perception, Built environment

AB - BackgroundWalking to school is an important source of physical activity for children. Parents are the key decision makers regarding school travel mode, with parents׳ perceptions of traffic safety being an important factor in the decision making process. The study examines the relationships between perceptions of traffic danger, walking to school and built environment features.MethodsA cross-sectional parent survey was conducted in 2011, in 20 elementary schools in Toronto, Canada. Built environment data from municipal sources were mapped onto school attendance boundaries developed by the school board which identified household eligibility for attendance at each school. Repeated-measures logistic regression was used to examine the associations between frequent walking to school (4–5 times/weekly) and parents׳ perceptions of traffic danger along the school route and at the school site, and between perceptions of high levels of school route traffic danger and social and built environment variables.ResultsThe response rate was 38% with 733 surveys returned. The odds of frequent walking to school were 47% lower with high perceived school route traffic danger, but walking was unrelated to perceived school site traffic danger. Higher perceived route danger was associated with observation of dangerous midblock crossings near schools (OR 1.97), higher flashing beacon density (OR 1.31) and lower dead-end road (OR 0.70), collector road (OR 0.80) traffic light (OR 0.80) and school crossing guard densities (OR 0.89).ConclusionsHigh perceived school route but not school site danger, was related to frequent walking to school and to specific built environment features. Parents׳ perception of danger is not always in accordance with objective measures of traffic danger. Safe road design along school routes is important to influence traffic safety and walking to school; however, safe road design must also be directed to the immediate school environment where collision densities are high.Keywords: Walking, Schools, Child, Traffic danger, Parent perception, Built environment

KW - Walking

KW - Schools

KW - Child

KW - Traffic danger

KW - Parent perception

KW - Built environment

U2 - 10.1016/j.jth.2015.05.004

DO - 10.1016/j.jth.2015.05.004

M3 - Article

VL - 2

SP - 327

EP - 335

JO - Journal of Transport & Health

JF - Journal of Transport & Health

SN - 2214-1405

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ER -