Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Geography

Supervisor

Dr. Jason Gilliland

Abstract

This study examined the influence of parents’ and children’s perceptions of their built and social environments on children’s use of active transportation (AT) between home and school. A mixed-methods approach was used including an environmental/behavioural survey completed by students (grades 5 through 8) and parents from 32 schools throughout London, Ontario, (n=1,623); Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for generating built environment variables to be controlled for; Principal Component factor analysis; and step-wise logistic regression models that divided analysis between the journey to and from school to determine the most influential factors in either direction. Children’s personal attitudes were the primary barrier for use of AT in both directions between home and school with “having no one to walk with” and “it being easier to have someone to drive them” being associated variables within both factors. Urban planners, public health professionals, and policy makers need to improve environments, develop AT promotional initiatives, and develop policies that remove barriers to allow more children to profit from the health benefits associated with AT.


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