2010 - Research

The Built Environment and School Travel Mode Choice in Toronto, Canada

Understanding the potential relationship between the built environment and active school transportation (e.g., walking) empirically is essential to the development of effective planning interventions.

  • This study examines the association between the built environment and the likelihood of walking or being driven to or from school. The research also addresses differences in mode choice behavior across morning and afternoon period school trips.
  • Binomial logit models were specified to study the school travel outcomes of children, aged 11-13 years, in the City of Toronto, Canada.
  • Distance between the residence and school had the strongest correlation with mode choice; other built environment measures had moderate associations with walking. Importantly, the built environment around a child’s residence had a stronger association with mode choice than did the built environment around the school. Furthermore, the effect of the built environment was more apparent for home-to-school trips.
  • This research provides evidence that the built environment may influence school travel mode choice, but planners and community-based organizations should exercise caution when determining the nature of interventions required to encourage walking among children.

Mitra, R., Buliung, RN, Roorda, MJ. "Built Environment and School Travel Mode Choice in Toronto, Canada." Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board. 2156 (2010): 150-159.