The relationship between the built environment, parental perceptions of traffic safety and walking environment, and children's school travel behaviour in Toronto
thesisposted on 2021-05-25, 07:14 authored by Amarpreet Guliani
Decline in children’s participation in active school transportation (AST) has drawn attention of those concerned with children’s health and wellbeing. Recent researcher has shown links between built environment, individuals’ psychological and social behaviour, and AST. However, no known research has empirically evaluated their hypothesized relationship simultaneously. This study explored the association between the built environment, parental perceptions of traffic safety and walking environment, sociodemographic characteristics, and AST. Structural equation modeling was employed to quantitatively analyse data on 720 students and their parents, collected from 16 elementary schools in Toronto, Ontario. Findings of this study add new knowledge to the existing literature. Parental perception of the neighbourhood walking environment was found to play a noteworthy role; but the perception of traffic safety had no effect on children’s odds of walking to school. Additionally, dissonance was found between parental subjective views and the objective built environment characteristics. Evidently, AST mode choice is a multilevel and complex process. Suggested improvements include development of new school level programs founded in new City-level children specific policies.