2016 - Research

Determinants of Uptake and Maintenance of Active Commuting to School


  • In this study, urban location and decreased distance to school were related to adopting or maintaining active transportation to school.


  • Maintaining active travel to school was less likely and dropping out of active travel was most likely for children whose distance to school increased from age 9 to 13. Taking up habits of active travel to school were most likely for children whose distance to school decreased from ages 9 to 13.
  • Children were more likely to adopt or maintain active travel if they lived in an urban area.
  • In this study, 23% of children changed their school transportation practices between ages 9 and 13. Active transportation participation was 25% at age 9 and 20% at age 13.
  • There were weak positive relationships between parental perceptions of traffic and maintaining and taking up active transportation. There was no relationship between parental perceptions of traffic and dropping out of active transportation.


  • This article analyzed research from a cohort of the Growing Up in Ireland Study, with 8502 parents interviewed at baseline and 7279 at follow-up. Based on reported travel modes, participants were classified into four travel groups: maintaining active commuting, took up active commuting, dropped out from active commuting, and maintained passive commuting.

Murtagh, E.M., Dempster, M., Murphy, M.H. Determinants of uptake and maintenance of active commuting to school. Health & Place 40 (2016), 9-14.

Authored by: 
Murtagh E.M.
Dempster M.
Murphy M.H