School Travel Mode Choice and the Characteristics of the Urban Built Environment

The Case of Helsinki, Finland

In this study, characteristics of the built environment en route to school were connected with likelihood of walking or cycling to school more strongly than the built environment around homes.
Better public transportation access may influence the likelihood of walking or cycling to school.


  • The likelihood of traveling to school by walking or cycling decreased as the density of major roads on the school journey increased.
  • Increasing density of public transportation options around the home and school journey was associated with decreased probability of walking or cycling.
  • Longer distances between home and school was related to decreased likelihood of active transportation to school.
  • In this study, increasing residential density and land use mix were associated with decreased likelihood of walking or cycling to school. The researchers suggested that this was due to use of public transportation rather than being driven in a car.


  • This cross-sectional study used a location-based survey to gather information about school journeys for 224 children living within 1-3 km from 16 schools in urban areas of Finland.

Broberg, A. and Sarjala, S. (2015). School travel mode choice and the characteristics of the urban built environment: The case of Helsinki, Finland. Transport Policy, 37, 1-10.

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