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Steps towards an active future: A study on the influences on transport mode choice to school among Dutch adolescents

By J.G.E. Soemers


Obesity and overweight levels are rising and form a major health treat among adolescents. A way of counteracting and preventing this condition is by stimulating physical activity in the form of active commuting to school. Relatively little is known about what influences the mode choices to school among Dutch adolescents. Therefore, the aim of this research was to provide insights in the mode choice among Dutch adolescents between passive transport, walking and cycling to school. Data from the Dutch national travel survey (‘Onderzoek Verplaatsingen in Nederland 2012 – OviN 2012 versie 2.0’) was used for the analysis. Cycling was the most common transport mode among Dutch adolescents with 77,3% of the trips, 18,7% of the trips was made with a passive transport mode and walking was the least common transport mode with 4,0% of the trips. A multinomial logistic regression model was applied on a total of 5161 trips to school in order to find what characteristics were related to the mode choice to school among Dutch adolescents. The characteristics that were found to be related to mode choice were age, gender, ethnicity, household car ownership, household bicycle ownership, urban density of the municipality of residence, percentage of water, percentage of green, temperature, precipitation and distance. The most influential characteristic for walking and cycling was distance and the second most important predictor for walking was age and for cycling household bicycle ownership. In order to encourage active commuting to school, several policy recommendations were made, namely avoiding the merging of schools to serve a larger area in order to keep the distances from home to school as short as possible, teaching youths with a non-native ethnic background how to cycle and/or help them gain experience with cycling, setting up programs for subsidizing bicycles or a bicycle loan program, displacing the parking spaces for scooters or light motorcycles combined with education and regular communication with more vulnerable groups such as girls and non-native adolescents in order to isolate and address safety concerns

Topics: Active transport, passive transport, school travel, cycling, walking, mode choice, adolescents, the Netherlands
Year: 2016
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