School Siting and Healthy Communities: Why Where We Invest in School Facilities Matters

“Schools not located near residences make it impossible for most children to walk or bike to school, thereby missing an opportunity for physical activity as part of daily routines.”

  • “School Trips: Analysis of Factors Affecting Mode Choice in Three Metropolitan Areas” by R. Ewing, M. Zhang, and M.J. Greenwald
    • Based on analysis of data from three metropolitan areas, students with shorter travel time to school by foot or bike are more likely to use active transportation, which supports the need for neighborhood schools. Students with access to sidewalks along main roads are more likely to walk to school, which supports sidewalk improvements through Safe Routes to School.
  • “Policy Impacts on Mode Choice in School Transportation: An Analysis of Four Florida School Districts” by R.L. Steiner, I. Beiferi, A. Fieschman, R.E. Provost, A.A. Arafat, M. Guttenplan, L.B. Crider
    • Transportation, land use, and school planning overlap in four Florida school districts through multimodal planning, coordinated school planning, and Safe Ways to School. Data suggested that school districts with more history of coordinated school siting and multimodal planning had higher participation in walking and biking to school.
  • “Where to Live and How to Get to School: Connecting Residential Location Choice and School Travel Mode Choice” by Y. Yang, B. Steiner, B. Parker, M. Sclossberg, S. Fukahori
    • Through a survey of 1,200 households with elementary school children, this study found that parents’ decision to allow children to participate in active transportation was a reflection of school travel preference and residential location choice more than environment conditions. This research supported a need for adequate housing around schools to support those seeking active transportation opportunities.
  • This book is intended to aid in collaboration between planning and public health professionals, other stakeholders, and citizens for school siting and capital expenditures that will support healthy community environments. Three chapters focus on the impact of school capital investment decisions and the relationship between the built environment and parents’ decisions about active transportation to school.

Miles, R., Adelaja, A., Wyckoff, M.A. (Eds). (2011). School Siting and Healthy Communities: Why Where We Invest in School Facilities Matters. Michigan State University Press. East Lansing, MI. 

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