Where do children travel to and what local opportunities are available? The relationship between neighborhood destinations and children’s independent mobility


`Associations between access to local destinations and children’s independent mobility (IM) were examined. In 2007, 10- to 12-year-olds (n = 1,480) and their parents (n = 1,314) completed a survey. Children marked on a map the destinations they walked or cycled to (n = 1,132), and the availability of local destinations was assessed using Geographic Information Systems. More independently mobile children traveled to local destinations than other children. The odds of IM more than halved in both boys and girls whose parents reported living on a busy road (boys, OR = 0.48; girls, OR = 0.36) and in boys who lived near shopping centers (OR = 0.18) or community services (OR = 0.25). Conversely, the odds of IM more than doubled in girls living in neighborhoods with well-connected low-traffic streets (OR = 2.32) and increased in boys with access to local recreational (OR = 1.67) and retail (OR = 1.42) destinations. Creating safe and accessible places and routes may facilitate children’s IM, partly by shaping parent’s and children’s feelings of safety while enhancing their confidence in the child’s ability to use active modes without an adult.


children, independent mobility, destinations, neighborhoodPeer-reviewed

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