School site and the potential to walk to school: The impact of street connectivity and traffic exposure in school neighborhoods
Giles-Corti, B., Wood, G., Pikora, T., Learnihan, V., Bulsara, M., Van Niel, K., et al. (2011). School site and the potential to walk to school: The impact of street connectivity and traffic exposure in school neighborhoods. Health and Place, 17(2), 545-550. doi:10.1016/j.healthplace.2010.12.011
The impact of neighborhood walkability (based on street connectivity and traffic exposure) within 2 km of public primary schools on children regularly walking to school was examined. The most (n=13) and least walkable (n=12) schools were selected using a school-specific ‘walkability’ index and a cross sectional study undertaken of Year 5, 6 and 7 children (n=1480) and consenting parents (n=1332). After adjustment, regularly walking to school was higher in children attending schools in high walkable neighborhoods (i.e, high street connectivity and low traffic volume) (Odds ratio (OR) 3.63; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 2.01-6.56), and less likely in neighborhoods with high connectivity but high traffic volume (OR 0.32; 95% CI 0.22-0.47). Connected street networks provide direct routes to school but when designed for heavy traffic, the potential for children to walk to school is reduced. This highlights the importance of carefully considering school siting and, particularly, street design in school neighborhoods.
peer-reviewed, children, child, exercise, walking, environment, physical activity