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School children -- Transportation, Public health, Land use planning, Traffic safety and children


This project investigates issues related to parents’ decisions about children’s school transportation. This has become an important area of research due to the growing concerns that increased reliance on private automobile in school travel has led to adverse health impacts on children and negative impacts on environment. This study examines school transportation in the context of where families live and how families make decisions about school travel in the process of choosing their residence.

Using a middle-sized school district in Oregon State, we conducted a 5500-household survey and a number of interviews and focus groups. The study shows that parents considered school transportation in their residential location process; their intention to allow their children to walk or bike to school at this stage had significant impacts on later school travel behavior. While acknowledging school travel was not a priority when choosing a residential location, parents with strong preference for children walking or biking to school used residential location process consciously to live closer to school and in more walkable neighborhoods; but parents were also limited by housing opportunities around schools and in the community.

This research suggests the needs for stronger coordination between community land us planning and school planning, and stronger emphasis on changing parents’ attitudes toward children walking or biking to school in programs around safe routes to schools.


This is a final report, OTREC-RR-10-01, from the NITC program of TREC at Portland State University, and can be found online at:

The summary of TREC research project OTREC-RR-10-01 can be found at



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