Exploring Differences in School Travel Mode Choice Behavior Between Children and Youth

Characteristics of the neighborhood built environment may have a stronger effect on mode choice among children than youth.


  • Distance to school was the factor most strongly associated with travel mode for both age groups, with both groups less likely to walk than use transit and school bus at distances of 1.6 km (one mile) and more likely to walk at 400 m (a quarter mile).
  • Parental unavailability at the time of school travel was related to a higher likelihood of travel by walking, transit, or school bus. Household propensity for driving, measured as automobile mode share for daily household trips, was associated with trips to school by car.
  • Male students ages 14-15 were more likely to walk than females.
  • Neighborhood built environment characteristics were not significantly related to mode choice among youth ages 14-15.
  • For younger children (age 11), lack of major street crossings en route to school, high density retail land use, and smaller street blocks showed statistically significant associations with children walking to school.
  • In this study, children and youth in Catholic schools were more likely to travel to school by school bus than those attending public school.


  • This cross-sectional study examined school travel mode choices for 945 11-year-old and 1,269 14 to 15-year-old children in Toronto, Canada. Data was collected from the 2006 Transportation Tomorrow Survey.

Mitra, R., Buliung, R.N. (2015). Exploring differences in school travel mode choice behaviour between children and youth. Transport Policy, 42, 4-11.

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