2012 - Research

Parental Attitudes towards Children Walking and Bicycling to School: A Multivariate Ordered Response Analysis

This study investigated this unexplored avenue of research and identified the influences on parental attitudes towards their children walking and bicycling to school, as part of a larger nationwide effort to make children more physically active and combat rising trends of childhood obesity in the US.

  • Recent research suggests that, besides traditional socio-demographic and built environment attributes, the attitudes and perceptions of parents towards walking and bicycling play a crucial role in deciding their children’s mode choice to school. However, very little is known about the factors that shape these parental attitudes towards their children actively commuting to school.
  • Through the use of a multivariate ordered response model (a model structure that allows different attitudes to be correlated), the study analyses five different parental attitudes towards their children walking and bicycling to school, based on data drawn from the California add-on sample of the 2009 National Household Travel Survey. In particular, the subsample from the Los Angeles – Riverside – Orange County area is used in this study to take advantage of a rich set of micro-accessibility measures that are available for this region.
  • The study found that school accessibility, work patterns, current mode use in the household, and socio-demographic characteristics shape parental attitudes towards children walking and bicycling to school. The study findings provide insights on policies, strategies, and campaigns that may help shift parental attitudes to be more favorable towards their children walking and bicycling to school.

Seraj, S., R. Sidharthan, et al. (2012). Parental Attitudes Towards Children Walking and Bicycling to School: A Multivariate Ordered Response Analysis. Paper for the 91st  Annual Meeting of the TRB, Washington, DC, January 2012.