Impact of changing road infrastructure on children’s active travel: A multi-methods study from Auckland, New Zealand

Smith, M., Hawley, G., Mackay, L., Hosking, J., Mackie, H., Ikeda, E., Egli, V., Ellaway, A. and Witten, K. (2020) Impact of changing road infrastructure on children’s active travel: A multi-methods study from Auckland, New Zealand. Journal of Transport and Health, 18, 100868. (doi: 10.1016/j.jth.2020.100868)

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Abstract

Introduction Built environment infrastructure that supports active travel may help increase rates of children's active travel to school. Knowledge gaps exist in terms of how small-to-medium scale, school-focused infrastructural changes might impact children's active school travel and associated variables along the pathway to behaviour change. The aim was to work with a regional transport agency to evaluate the impact of infrastructural changes in a school neighbourhood. Methods Children in school years 5–8 and their parents/caregivers from two schools involved in a school travel intervention were invited to participate. The study area was identified in partnership with Auckland Transport (responsible for delivering all intervention elements). Children completed a geographic informations systems survey that captured behaviours and neighbourhood perceptions. Parents completed a telephone interview to measure neighbourhood perceptions and reasons for school travel mode. Tube counters and video cameras were used to measure traffic speeds and volume, and counts of pedestrians and cyclists, respectively. Baseline measures were taken in 2015 (traffic data) and from May-July 2016 (all other measures), infrastructural works were delivered from November 2016 to May 2017, and follow-up measures were repeated in May-June 2018. Results At baseline, 123 children and 88 parents participated. At follow-up, 152 children and 91 parents participated. Reductions in traffic speeds but increases in traffic volumes were observed post the intervention. Positive and negative shifts in child and parent neighbourhood perspectives were observed. Distance to school, convenience, and traffic saftey concerns were raised as key factors of importance by parents and children. Overall, rates of car use for the school trip increased, while video observation showed an increase in pedestrians. Conclusions Reversing declines in active travel may require more intensive, community-wide interventions that substantially improve neighbourhood safety and perceptions of safety. Longer term follow-up may be necessary to understand the true effect of the intervention.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ellaway, Dr Anne
Authors: Smith, M., Hawley, G., Mackay, L., Hosking, J., Mackie, H., Ikeda, E., Egli, V., Ellaway, A., and Witten, K.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Journal of Transport and Health
Publisher:Elsevier Ltd.
ISSN:2214-1413
ISSN (Online):2214-1405
Published Online:05 June 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 Elsevier
First Published:First published in Journal of Transport and Health 18:100868
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
Medical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/10
SPHSU10