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Walking Alone or Walking Together:

Spatially Evaluating Children’s Travel Behavior to School

Date Published: 11 April 2022

Dr Demet Yesiltepe published an article, titled “Walking Alone or Walking Together: Spatially Evaluating Children’s Travel Behavior to School “, in SSRN Electronic Journal.

In this study, Dr Yesiltepe and three other researchers investigated children’s excess travel behavior in Istanbul (Turkey) using a route detour index (RDI), participatory mapping and GIS. Two objectives were listed:  i) to statistically and spatially gain a better understanding of children’s walking behavior within a Turkish context; ii) to triangulate data from children, their parents, and objectively-assessed neighbourhood features to generate a comprehensive understanding of children’s walking behavior to school and determine if the effects differ when unaccompanied or accompanied. Using survey data from a sample (n = 373) of children (aged 12-15) and parents from Istanbul, they investigated the associations of excess travel (i.e., route detour index, RDI) to school with neighbourhood factors, urban design, socioeconomic status, and environment as well as children’s and parents’ environmental perceptions.

The researchers discovered that accompanied children engaged in more excess walking than their unaccompanied classmates. Many of the potential correlates were spatially clustered, indicating that this phenomena is spatially variant. The hierarchical spatial modelling results revealed many salient subjective and objective factors underlying excess walking to school. This new information should be acknowledged and used by local stakeholders in similar regions of the world to assist with creating successful Safe Routes to School programs and Child-Friendly Environments to encourage children’s walking to school.

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