Improving the Mobility of Children


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Improving the Mobility of Children

  1. 1. Improving the Mobility of Children Slide Presentations and Discussant Comments Paper Sessions 1 and 2 2007 Annual Meeting Association of American Geographers San Francisco, CA, April 17-21 Sponsorships: Applied Geography Specialty Group Transportation Geography Specialty Group Urban Geography Specialty Group Organizers: Selima Sultana - University of North Carolina- Greensboro Barry Wellar - Wellar Consulting, University of Ottawa, and Transport 2000 Canada Session Description: In car-oriented cultures the mobility of children has seriously declined, with major impacts for both them and their families. Children are at risk from lack of safe pedestrian and bicycle travel in auto-dominated transport systems, as well as suffering from the air pollution produced by these systems. Families with children face serious transport challenges as children often have to be driven everywhere: to schools, after-school activities, day-care, friends' homes, recreation locations, etc. Through an excessive propensity by adults to drive, children are exposed to values that will increase the difficulty of achieving sustainable transport systems which are based on trips by walking, cycling and transit. This two-part session is intended to stimulate research on children's transportation for the present and in the future.
  2. 2. Slide Presentations Paper Session 4238: Improving the Mobility of Children I 1. Barry Wellar. Adapting Walking Security Index Concepts and Procedures to Serve and Promote the Mobility of Children 2. Tracy McMillan, Allison Phillips. Cultural Comparison of Caregiver Decision-Making on Children's School Travel 3. Anne Hurni. A Good Place to Bring up the Kids; Investigating Neighbourhood Effects on Children’s Development in Sydney, Australia Paper Session 4338: Improving the Mobility of Children II 4. Susan Wurtele, Jillian Ritchie. Transportation Infrastructure Improvements and Children's Mobility: Promoting Successful Transition from Busing to Walking and Cycling 6. Selima Sultana. The Journey to School by K-12 Children: Why Fewer Children are Riding the School Bus? 6. Discussant: Barry Wellar
  3. 3. Adapting Walking Security Index Concepts and Procedures to Serve and Promote the Mobility of Children Abstract The Walking Security Index (WSI) project was approved in 1994 as an element of the Transportation Environment Action Plan of the Region of Ottawa-Carleton. During the design phase (1995-1998) ten indexes were developed to measure the levels of safety, comfort and convenience expected and experienced by pedestrians at intersections. In the pilot study phase (1999-2002) three macro indexes were tested for operationality. Over the course of the project more than 25 documents were published, including Perspectives on Pedestrian Safety (1995), Walking Security Index (1998), Newspapers as a Source of Fact and Opinion on Pedestrians’ Safety, Comfort and Convenience (2000), and Walking Security Index Pilot Study (2002). In this presentation the origins of the WSI project are briefly summarized, and the index formulation processes for the Intersection Volume and Design Index (IVDI), the Quality of Intersection Condition Index (QICI), and the Driver Behaviour Index (DBI) are outlined. Consideration is then given to how each of the macro indexes (IVDI, QICI, and DBI) can be used directly or modified to explicitly represent the interests of children in road and intersection designs and operations, and in motor vehicle safety and enforcement programs. The presentation is concluded by discussing how the indexes can be applied by parents and advocacy groups, as well as by law enforcement, planning engineering and other agencies, to ensure that the levels of convenience, comfort and safety experienced by children while walking or biking exceed those of private motor vehicle operators, and thereby actively serve and promote the mobility of children. Keywords: transportation, mobility, walking security index, children Slide 1
  4. 4. About the Walking Security Index (WSI) Project The WSI project was initiated in 1994, and the phase funded by the Region of Ottawa- Carleton/City of Ottawa was completed in 2002. Since 2002 WSI project activities include advising active transportation advocates, publishing journal and proceedings articles, making presentations and holding workshops on index design, testing and implementation, commenting on thesis proposals, providing media commentary on issues related to pedestrians’ safety, comfort and convenience, providing opinions and expert witness testimony on civil and criminal matters related to pedestrians’ safety, investigating conflicts between vehicle operators and pedestrians, and exploring the relationship between transportation infrastructure, area planning and children’s mobility. Hardcopy publications from the WSI project are available from various libraries and government agencies in Canada, the United States, and abroad. A limited number of reports from the design phase of the WSI project are available for sale at cost to individuals and organizations, and a limited number of reports from the pilot study phase are available for sale to public libraries or other open-access organizations. Inquiries about WSI publications should be sent to B. Wellar: Readers who wish to learn more about the Walking Security Index are directed to the following websites:;;;; Slide 2
  5. 5. About Barry Wellar and the WSI Project The WSI project was presented in 1994 as a research proposal to be undertaken as part of the Transportation Environment Action Plan, Region of Ottawa-Carleton. Barry Wellar was Principal Investigator for the Walking Security Index project, and Director of the Walking Security Index Program while Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Ottawa. Upon retirement in 2005 he formed Wellar Consulting Inc., and was appointed Distinguished Research Fellow in 2006 by Transport 2000 Canada Dr. Wellar is a Member of the Canadian Association of Geographers, and the Canadian Institute of Planners, and is a Registered Professional Planner (RPP). His research on the Walking Security Index has been referenced in successful applications to have him qualified as an expert witness in civil trials involving pedestrians’ safety. Slide 3
  6. 6. Index Design Guiding Principle: Apply a Reality Test to Potential Variables Variable Evaluation Criteria Used to Design and Assess Walking Security Index Research General Particular Support Enforceability Pertinence Data Availability Degree of Difficulty Slide 4
  7. 7. Intersection and Volume Design Index (IVDI) IVDI = V1 • V2 • V3 • V4 • V5 • V6 • V7 • V8 where, V1 = number of passenger car equivalents2/hour V2 = number of pedestrians/hour V3 = number of lanes rating V4 = number of turn lanes by type rating V5 = intersection geometry rating V6 = intersection slope rating V7 = direction(s) of traffic flow rating V8 = number of channels adjacent to intersection rating Slide 5
  8. 8. Applying the Indexes: Illustrative Comments on the IVDI The largest IVDI number identifies the “Intersection from Hell”, relatively speaking, in terms of design, size and vehicle volumes. Simply put, the larger the IVDI number the less likely that an intersection would be deemed ‘pedestrian friendly’. That is, as the IVDI number increases, the safety, comfort and convenience of pedestrians decreases, and to varying degrees so does children’s mobility. Slide 6
  9. 9. Applying the Indexes: Illustrative Comments on the IVDI The IVD Index can be used in engineering studies, collision studies, pedestrian movement studies, and numerous other kinds of studies to identify and modify structural or functional features of intersections that directly affect the levels of safety, comfort and convenience experienced by children when crossing an intersection. For example, the IVDI formulation can be used to estimate what an intersection will “look like” after a widening. This estimate can then be matched against existing IVDIs to point which out intersections the widened intersection will most resemble should the widening proceed. Conversely, the variables that comprise the IVDI can be manipulated to reveal the changes to the physical design, or to the amount and type of vehicular traffic, that are necessary to achieve an IVDI score that approximates the number calculated for an intersection that receives a “thumbs up “ from children. Slide 7
  10. 10. Quality of Intersection Condition Index Slide 8
  11. 11. Applying the Indexes: Illustrative Comments on the QICI It appears that the WSI research was the first in Canada to have serious regard for the fact that there are usually four quadrants to an intersection. The QICI can be tailored to meet the travel patterns of children by focusing on all quadrants, or particular quadrants, when looking for conditions that affect children’s use of intersections. Slide 9
  12. 12. Applying the Indexes: Illustrative Comment on the QICI There are 18 variables in the QICI. Most if not all of them affect children’s mobility. Time allows me to comment on one of them. The variable ‘Stop bar painted and signed’ represents a narrow strip of paint, and sometimes but not always there is a posted sign beside the road pointing to the stop bar location. The sign is especially important in locations where snow may cover the painted bar. In the Ottawa research it was confirmed that the vast majority of stop bars are too close to crosswalks, and especially crosswalks near schools. It is our finding that stop bars should be at least six metres from a crosswalk, and that a posted sign is required because many drivers do not seem able to grasp that a stop bar is not always located one metre from a crosswalk. Slide 10
  13. 13. Driver Behaviour Index Driver Behaviour Index = ALI + RLI + FTYI P P P where, ALI = amber-light incidents per phase, P RLI = red-light incidents per phase, P FTYI = fail-to-yield incidents per phase. P Slide 11
  14. 14. Fitting the DBI to Serve Children’s Mobility: Zero Tolerance for Running the Red For DBI fieldwork purposes, we modified the official version slightly, so that a red-light incident is deemed to occur if either of the following events is observed: • for left turns and straights, vehicles cross the stop bar after the red shows; • for right turns on red, vehicles do not come to a full stop before the stop bar. This tight definition not only serves field work purposes, it also removes the large forgiveness factor that is currently available to aggressive drivers. Slide 12
  15. 15. Fitting the DBI to Serve Children’s Mobility: Zero Tolerance for Running the Amber For DBI fieldwork purposes, we again slightly modified the official version, so that an amber-light incident is deemed to occur if either of the following events is observed: • for left turns and straights, vehicles cross the stop bar after the amber shows; • for right turns on amber, vehicles cross the stop bar after the amber shows. This tight definition not only serves field work purposes, it also removes the large forgiveness factor that is currently available to aggressive drivers. Slide 13
  16. 16. Fitting the DBI to Serve Children’s Mobility: Zero Tolerance for Failure-to-Yield For DBI fieldwork purposes, a failure-to-yield incident is deemed to have occurred if any of the following [nine] events are observed: 1 Vehicle blocks crosswalk when pedestrian signal in walk mode. 2 Vehicle unable to clear intersection before start of pedestrian signal. 3 Vehicle enters crosswalk when pedestrian in lane or about to enter lane. 4 Vehicle accelerates to “beat” pedestrian to crosswalk. 5 Vehicle fails to slow to allow pedestrian to enter crosswalk. 6 Vehicle causes pedestrian to stop or change direction to avoid collision in crosswalk. 7 Vehicle causes pedestrian to delay entering crosswalk. 8 Vehicle changes lanes to cut in front of or behind pedestrian. 9 Vehicle fails to stop before reaching the stop bar. Slide 14
  17. 17. Applying the Indexes: Illustrative Comments on the DBI A total of thirteen variables (two for reds, two for ambers, and nine for fail-to-yield) were considered when formulating, testing and refining the DBI. The variables are fully discussed in the project reports, as are the procedures for calculating index scores and rankings. As a result, and in the interests of time, my focus here is on presenting an indicative selection of operations, enforcement, engineering, political, legal, and other initiatives that DBI scores and rankings would point to as means to improve the safety, comfort and convenience, and hence the mobility, of children as pedestrians. Slide 15
  18. 18. Applying the Indexes: Illustrative Comments on the DBI 1 The DBI is an exceptional means for police services to prioritize the assignment of officers, photo radar and/or red-light cameras at intersections or quadrants to deal with motor vehicle operators who put children at risk. 2 Beginning with the intersections with the worst DBI rankings, photo radar and red-light cameras should be installed at all signalized intersections proximal to schools, libraries and other facilities that attract children as pedestrians. In school zones, infractions should entail triple-rate fines and license suspensions. This recommendation is consistent with the Zero-Tolerance-No Exceptions argument about how to deal with aggressive drivers and their impact on vulnerable road users. 3 Crossing times at intersections proximal to schools and other high- use children destinations should be set at the walking speeds of children. Slide 16
  19. 19. Applying the Indexes: Illustrative Comments on the DBI 4 Parents and community groups should make it a publicized practice to obtain monthly reports from police departments on citations issued for such offences as speeding, illegal lane changes, tail-gating, failure to stop before stop bar, crosswalk violations, illegal window tints, and failure to execute a complete stop near schools, libraries, parks and other locations frequented by children as pedestrians. 5 Parents and community groups should conduct their own surveillance of quadrants and intersections, compile their own records of violations, and develop their own DBI scores. This body of information is valuable when evaluating law enforcement and traffic engineering performance on a quadrant-by-quadrant or intersection-by intersection basis. In addition, this body of information would no doubt be exceedingly valuable should a legal situation arise involving a vehicle-child collision and lines of questioning in regard to the “effectiveness” of an enforcement program, and/or the conduct of traffic engineers, planners, or other professionals charged with providing safe passage for children. Slide 17
  20. 20. Acknowledgements Assistance from Sam Herold, Laboratory for Applied Geomatics and Geographic Information Systems Science (LAGGISS), Department of Geography, University of Ottawa, in preparing the PowerPoint presentation is gratefully acknowledged. In addition, I wish to thank Transport 2000 Canada officials and members for supporting my research and publication activities as Distinguished Research Fellow, and I want to express my appreciation to the many individuals and groups who have contributed support, ideas and encouragement for my work on the Walking Security Index, sustainable transport, and other transportation topics. Slide 18
  21. 21. Cultural comparison of caregiver decision-making on children’s school travel Tracy E. McMillan, PhD, MPH University of Texas at Austin pph partners
  22. 22. Youth school travel Significant reduction in non-motorized travel to school in recent decades – Walking represents only 13% of trips – Private vehicles make up over 50% of trips Why? – Plethora of associations such as… Physical environment: distance to school Household constraints: time, convenience Caregiver attitudes: perceptions of traffic, personal security, convenience Child attitude: desire to walk/bike Social/cultural: country of birth
  23. 23. Health issues Significant increase in prevalence of overweight in youth since ’60s – In 1999, over 15% of youth aged 6-19 overweight Health disparities masked in this overall figure – Highest prevalence in Mexican-American and non- Hispanic black adolescents Trip to school important physical activity opportunity – Contributes to overall amount of physical activity/day – Youth traveling to school by active means are more active overall
  24. 24. Programming/policy reactions Safe Routes to School – Encouragement of safe & active travel to school – Several local and state-level programs since late 1990’s – National program funded in 2005 Increase in research funding – Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Active Living Research/Active Living by Design Recent announcement of $500 million investment in childhood obesity Population-specific/sensitive programming? Not much yet
  25. 25. Methods Qualitative research – Two Central Austin elementary schools selected based on demographics & interest – Caregiver recruitment via flyers sent home in child folder, parent listserv and local advocacy group – Participants had to live within walking distance of the school – Interviews (non-Hispanic caregivers) & focus groups (Hispanic caregivers)
  26. 26. School locations
  27. 27. Participants 11 interviews with White/Black caregivers – 10 moms, 1 dad – Represented 15 children aged 4-9, 6 males/9 females 2 focus groups with Hispanic caregivers – 10 caregivers overall: 6-7 moms, 1 dad, 1 grandmother, 1 adult sister – Represented 19 children aged 4-12, 10 males/6 females/3 unknown
  28. 28. School travel White/Black Hispanic – Mode: – Mode: 8 driven by caregiver 9 walked 2 walked 1 driven 1 alternated between – No variation in travel from walk/bike/drive morning to afternoon – Some driven in morning – All accompanied by adult walk in afternoon – All accompanied by adult – No carpooling in morning, some in afternoon
  29. 29. Mode: Choice vs. Necessity? White/Black Hispanic – 7 reported mode was – All reported that mode was necessity (all HH that a necessity, not a choice drive) – Why? No car to drive, – 3 reported choice (HH that traffic safety (one family walk or bike) that drove in this group) – 1 commented: “initially I would say necessity but really…if I really think about it, it’s probably more of a choice because we do live very close to the school and could easily get up a little earlier a walk, instead of driving…” – Why? Time, convenience, too much to carry
  30. 30. When asked a different way…primary factors influencing mode decision White/Black Hispanic – Driving caregivers – Driving caregivers Traffic safety Traffic safety Personal safety/security – Walk caregivers Time/convenience No car Materials to carry – Walk/bike caregivers Proximity Weather Like walking for exercise & environmental reasons
  31. 31. Traffic safety conditions White/Black Hispanic – Traffic speed – Lots of traffic, heavy – Traffic volumes near around school the school – Lack sidewalks in “It’s crazy” places Traffic in front of – Speed: “people do school…it’s tend to go over 20 tremendous” mph sometimes” – Poor crossings – Sight lines – No crossing guard – 2-3 crossing guards at – Inattentiveness of this school drivers – No sidewalk on main road to school
  32. 32. Personal safety comments White/Black Hispanic – “safe as it can be and still – “people you don’t know, be normal” worse than when we grew – “fairly safe” up—transients, drug – Caregivers generally felt dealers, former convicts & safe, given neighborhood squatters” location, and felt general – “Drugs in the neighborhood safety for children, but are a problem” keep them close by – “It is safe” “certainly not the level (of – Responses the same safety) that existed when whether asking about own I was a child where…you’d personal safety or child’s leave on a summer day in the morning and not return until night”
  33. 33. “What do others think/would think about your child walking/bicycling to school?” White/Black Hispanic – Mixed responses – “It isn’t good, there can be 9 felt folks would be fine if problems crossing the child was walking with an street” adult/not alone – “that something is wrong 2 felt friends & family with the parents of the would not agree with it child…no reason for a small – “I don’t think they would child to be alone” care. That has to be my – Worried they would get hit responsibility” by a car – “They get kudos for riding” – “I have in the back of my head sometimes this feeling of guilt that we’re not making that walk more often”
  34. 34. Age, sex & independent travel White/Black Hispanic – Generally 10-12 years – Age: 16-17 and up old/6th grade “Not at any age” “I’m a little old- fashioned; I say like 12” – Sex of child? – Some felt older (15- Some felt concern 16) would be same no “…nature of the time matter gender, we live in” others felt greater – Sex of child? concern for female Influenced decision of some, but not all
  35. 35. Then and now… White/Black Hispanic – 7 caregivers walked to – All walked to school school – “Before you would do – 4 were driven (private something & they would vehicle or bus) tell your mom. Neighbors – Pace of life different now, looked after each other” overall seemed safer then, – “Life is fast now” media—hear more – “Children have more (“whether it occurs more opportunities, choices” frequently now, I have no – “Then, if someone idea”), wasn’t as concerned approached, you would run then about child safety, or fight. Now kids panic, just seems less safe now are fearful of people getting aggressive”
  36. 36. Conclusions Cultural differences – Variations in travel mode & reasons behind it – Personal safety/security in neighborhood – Age of independent travel – What would others think? Cultural “sameness” – Traffic conditions in neighborhood – Sex differences in independent travel – Feelings about change in conditions over time Policy/programming implications?
  37. 37. A good place to bring up the kids? Urbanism, transport and child development in Sydney Anne Hurni
  38. 38. Child development  Children’s health and wellbeing in early life has lifelong effects that result from interactions between biological development, and social, cultural and environmental circumstances (Wadsworth and Butterworth, 2006)  Children’s lives and livelihoods in different locations and at different spatial scales are shaped by a complex array of factors changing over time and space.
  39. 39. The role of transport ‘Transport’ is used as a shorthand term for passenger transportation, broadly conceived as the systems, networks, modes and services that are available within a given locality. This includes the infrastructure for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, but also the availability of public The research aims to investigate the transport, (mass transit) degree to which the transport provision and community transport enables or constrains the mobility of (para-transit children and their accessibility to a range of activities and services that comprise and differentiate their everyday lives.
  40. 40. Mobility Accessibility Connectivity Connectivity Learn Work Play Mobility Accessibility Engage Create Transportation Share Social outcomes Spatial patterns
  41. 41. Children’s mobility Ability Mode Range Children’s mobility, expands and changes as they grow. Their physical ability, modes of travel and spatial range develop, alongside their health, skills and learning, from their first steps in their home to their travels into their local communities and beyond as they develop competence, confidence and independence. Competence Confidence Independence
  42. 42. Urbanism: the Radburn design Mt Druitt, Blacktown Early ideas about residential planning developed in the USA , such as the Radburn design, were adopted in urban expansion in western Sydney in the 1960s and 70s, creating car dependency in higher income areas and transport disadvantage in lower income areas.
  43. 43. Urbanism and child development 1946 2006 A planning fundamental to separate Research on ‘sprawl’ and public health harmful industrial sites from (such as Frumkin, Frank and Johnson residential areas characterised the 2004) have prompted planners and twentieth century low density developers to promote higher density suburban developments in Sydney. living as the ‘new vision for housing’
  44. 44. Urban development in Sydney Urban development in Sydney followed rail network until the 1960s. Blacktown, experienced rapid urban expansion, w n has largest number k to a c of children in Bl Sydney, is very socially, culturally diverse and has a mixture of urban form and density.
  45. 45. Population density Population density is concentrated in older established areas of Sydney. Car travel is lower in these areas but….
  46. 46. Pedestrian casualty rate: Casualties aged 0-16 years per 1,000 population Child pedestrian casualty rate is as much as three times higher. Simple deterministic approaches to planning are inadequate for complex inter- relationships
  47. 47. Sydney suburbs: socioeconomic status “Poor social and economic circumstances are the greatest threat to children’s growth” M.Flood (2004)
  48. 48. Blacktown suburbs: socioeconomic status Blacktown is at the intersection of Sydney’s urban socioeconomic divisions
  49. 49. Blacktown suburbs: child development In localities which have the same low SES there are variations in child development outcomes that suggest factors in physical environment can influence outcomes, eg Emerton compared to Shalvey
  50. 50. Blacktown: local connectivity BMX Track Emerton Swimming Centre Qualitative research can help explain why differential outcomes emerge at local scale and what might be the important transport links that can support healthy child development.
  51. 51. Conclusion  Children’s mobility and accessibility is enabled or constrained by their social and physical environments  Children’s range of mobility and levels of accessibility may influence their developmental outcomes  Child-centred “connectivity” focuses on the networks, passages and infrastructures that enable their mobility and accessibility
  52. 52. Transportation Infrastructure Improvements and Children’s Mobility: using maps to support the transition from busing to walking and cycling paper presented to the AAG Annual Meeting, San Francisco, April 2007 by Susan Wurtele, Department of Geography, Trent University and Jill Ritchie, Peterborough County-City Health Unit
  53. 53. Relative Location of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada Source:
  54. 54. School A School B
  55. 55. Survey #1
  56. 56. Expected Impact of Changes to Busing School B: Current Mode of Travel to School School A: Current Mode of Travel to School Walk/Bike Other, 1% Walk/Bike Other, 2% 11% 28% Car, 31% Car, 32% School School Bus, 55% Bus, 40% School A Mode of School B Travel (# of students) (# of students) Current Expected Current Expected 29 38 Walk/Bike 106 151 153 80 Bus 157 60 + 63 + 50 87 150 Car 118 168 5 6 Other 4 6 274 274 Total # 385 385 School A: Impact of Changes to Busing School B: Impact of Changes to Busing (assuming proportion of Walk/Bike and Car (assuming proportion of Walk/Bike and Car Mode Mode remains constant) remains constant) Other, 2% Walk/Bike Other, 2% Walk/Bike 14% Car, 43% 39% School School Car, 55% Bus, 29% Bus, 16%
  57. 57. Example of Annotated Map from Parent Survey
  61. 61. Busing Policy, by School Board Average Minimum Busing Distance Average Age (years) Age (years) (between home and school) Catholic School Board 1 (School A) Grades: Junior Kindergarten - 3 4–8 1.0 km 0.62 miles Grades: 4-8 9 – 13 1.6 km 1.0 miles Grades: 9-12 14 – 18 3.2 km 2.0 miles Public School Board 2 (School B) Grades: Junior & Senior Kindergarten 4–5 1.0 km 0.62 miles Grades: 1 - 8 6 – 13 1.6 km 1.0 miles Grades: 7 & 8 (stand-alone middle schools) 12 – 13 2.4 km 1.5 miles Grades 9 - 12 14 – 18 3.2 km 2.0 miles 1 Peterborough,Victoria, Northumberland & Clarington Catholic District SB 2 Kawartha Pine Ridge District SB
  62. 62. Survey Responses to Question asking: What would make it easier for your child(ren) to walk or bike to school?
  63. 63. The Journey to School by K-5 Children: Why Are Fewer Children Riding The School Bus? Selima Sultana Department of Geography UNC-Greensboro AAG 2007 at San Francisco Acknowledgment This research was supported by the University Summer Research Excellence Award
  64. 64. Why does it matter how kids get to School? According to The National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Transportation (2007) school buses are: Safest form of transportation for students Reduce Traffic Beneficial to Environment Economic ($5,774.28 per year) and time (740 hours per year) benefits to parents
  65. 65. Background Trends in school siting are paralleling the trend toward increasingly spread out urban development, commonly known as sprawl. School location has been a very important factor regarding school travel behavior in children (Collins et al., 2001). I suspect, low-density siting has clear impacts on childrens’ bus travel time and mode choices to school, just as researchers (e.g. Sultana and Weber, 2007) have found people who live in low density peripheral areas travel longer to work.
  66. 66. Background How school bus services are operating under these circumstances are not known, and nor are the effects on children’s school trip time. McMillan (2005) pointed out that there is a scarcity in the literature on urban form’s influence on children’s travel, particularly for school. The Maine State Planning Office (1997) has found that although student enrollment dropped by 27,000 between 1970 and 1995, school busing costs rose from $8.7 million to over $54 million during that same period because of changing land use patterns. Another finding (McMillan 2007) reveals that urban form is important but not the sole factor that influences school travel mode choice.
  67. 67. Background • “…an easy way to save millions of dollars: consolidate yellow school bus routes so NYC was no longer paying for buses for hundreds, if not thousands, of children who never actually rode them (NYT, Feb 1, 2007).”
  68. 68. Research Questions 1. Do children who live in low density school catchment areas tend to have a longer bus ride to school than children who live in high density urban school catchment areas? 2. How do bus routes affect the school trip length of children? 3. Are children who live in low-density peripheral school catchment areas more likely to be driven to and from school by their parents than ride a school bus?
  69. 69. Study Area: Guilford County Schools • This research examines Guilford County these issues in the Guilford County School District, North Carolina
  70. 70. Data Digital Student Enrollment Records 2006 Home address Bus stop and time to be picked up Digitized School Catchment Area Maps Census Tiger Files Survey of Parents for Selected Elementary Schools
  71. 71. Distribution of Students in Study, 2006 *Elementary students that ride A.M. bus to schools selected for this study. Source: Guilford County
  72. 72. Selected Elementary Schools and Number of Students Assigned to AM Bus, 2006 Characteristics Total Percent Total Students Students Schools Students Assigned to AM Bus 39,665 55 60 Students NOT Assigned to AM bus 32,972 44 Selected Number of Elementary 12,138 17 24 Schools geocoded Selected Schools Assigned to AM Bus 8,152 67 Assigned Students’ successfully 7,927 97 geocoded for selected schools Students from selected school NOT 3,986 33 assigned to AM Bus Source: Guilford County Schools
  73. 73. Population Density by School Catchment Areas, 2006
  74. 74. Percentage of Students Assigned to Morning Bus
  75. 75. Average Travel Time By School (student)* *Based on average travel time of individual students. Shown in standard deviation. Source: Guilford County
  76. 76. Average Travel Time By School (stop)* *Based on average travel from each stop. Shown in standard deviation. Source: Guilford County
  77. 77. Average Bus Route Time By School* *Based on the average total travel times of AM bus routes for schools selected for study. Source: Guilford County
  78. 78. Number of Bus Routes by School* *Based on the total number of AM bus routes to schools selected for study. Source: Guilford County
  79. 79. Number of Stops Per Route by School* *Based on the number of stops scheduled per route for each school in study. Source: Guilford County
  80. 80. Spearman’s Correlation Coefficients for Students’ Average Travel Time and Associated Variables, 2006 Percent Percent Students Students Number Number Population Assigned NOT of of Routes Number of Density by Total for AM Assigned to Students by Bus Stops Students School Students Bus AM Bus per Stops School per Route per Routes Districts Average Travel -.138 -.104 .104 -.351(*) -.167 .505(**) .102 -.650(**) Time by Students Average Travel -.153 -.110 .110 -.310 -.158 .445(*) .076 -.588(**) Time by Stops Average Travel -.238 -.011 .011 -.543(**) -.136 .579(**) -.044 -.588(**) Time by Routes Total Students .148 -.148 .033 .830(**) .213 .121 -.352(*) Percent Students Assigned to AM -1.000(**) .057 .409(*) .100 .294 -.121 Bus Number of Students per Stops -.178 -.691(**) .559(**) .393(*) Number of Routes by School .163 -.231 -.287 Bus Stops per Route .112 -.697(**) N 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 ** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (1-tailed). * Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (1-tailed).
  81. 81. Choosing 5 Schools for Parental Survey Summerfield Irving Park Oak Ridge Claxton Sternberger Source: US Census, Guilford County School
  82. 82. 1= <1/2 Mile; 2= ½ to <1 Mile; 3= 1 to <2 Miles; 4= 2 to <5 Miles; 5= 5 to <10 Miles
  83. 83. 1 3 1= School Bus; 2= City Bus; 3= Family Car; 4= Carpool; 5=Vanpool; 6=Walk; 7=Bike; 8=Other
  84. 84. Reasons for not allowing your Children to Ride School Bus in the Morning 40.0 35.0 30.0 Percent Respondents 25.0 20.0 15.0 10.0 5.0 0.0 Bus Comes too Early Bus Travel Time is Bus stop is not close Bus service is not Others too Long available Reasons
  85. 85. Reasons for not allowing children to ride school bus • “…requiring him to get up earlier and spend an hour longer on the bus, and he had no choice to participate in after school activities..” • “My child does not ride the bus as she would have to leave home 45 minutes early to reach a school 5 minutes away by car.” • “ many bullies on the bus…bus driver is not a caregiver and can’t watch over every child..” • “Misbehavior of children on the bus..”
  86. 86. What Types of Improvement Will Allow Your Child to Ride School Bus 60 50 Percent Respondent 40 30 20 10 0 Shorter Bus Route Time Bus Stop Closer to Home Other No Improvement Necessary Types of Improvement
  87. 87. Conclusion and Future Directions • Children from low-density school catchment areas are traveling much greater time than children in high density areas • Because children in these areas are expected to travel greater times to school, parents are more likely to drive their children to save time (as they can get up later in the morning, and have more time for after school activities)
  88. 88. Conclusion and Future Directions However, there may be additional factors, such as household income, household structure (such as single parent or two parent household, and both parents working vs. one parent working), race, and age of children that are also important determinants of the parental choice of school transportation mode. Parental attitudes toward the car culture and urban environment influence mode choice for their children’s transportation as well. These issues need to be examined before any generalizations can be made.
  89. 89. Average Time By Average Time By Average Total Route School Student (minutes) Stop (minutes) Time (minutes) Cone 22.8 25.8 33.6 Frazier 25.2 -2 25.8 30.0 st. Sedgefield 25.8 27.0 32.4 de Irving Park 26.4 v. 27.0 33.0 Lindley 26.4 28.2 52.8 Archer 27.6 31.8 35.4 Jefferson 28.2 29.4 37.2 Joyner 28.2 29.4 34.8 Sumner 31.8 -1 34.2 41.4 st. Hunter 32.4 31.8 40.8 de Oak Ridge 32.4 v. 34.2 47.4 Brightwood 33.6 36.0 48.0 Alamance 34.2 34.8 46.8 Bessemer 34.2 37.8 43.2 Pleasant Garden 37.2 37.8 60.0 Foust 38.4 +1 40.2 55.2 st. Stokesdale 38.4 36.0 55.8 de Alderman 39.0 v. 39.6 49.2 Claxton 40.2 38.4 48.6 Jesse Wharton 42.6 42.6 53.4 Summerfield 42.6 +2 43.2 57.6 st. Madison 43.2 42.0 48.6 de Sternberger 43.8 v. 48.0 63.6 Sedalia 47.4 46.2 64.8 AVG. 34.3 35.3 46.4
  90. 90. Number of Students Assigned to Bus by School* *Based on the total number of students scheduled to ride the AM bus to schools selected for study. Source: Guilford County
  91. 91. Number of Students Per Route by School* *Based on the number of students scheduled per route for each school in study. Source: Guilford County
  92. 92. Discussant Comments on Presentations in Paper Session 4338: Improving the Mobility of Children II In order to give members of the audience an opportunity to raise questions and make comments, I limited my remarks during the Session. The following comments briefly elaborate several considerations that I regard as having major implications for the quality and impact of research undertaken by Geographers dealing with the topic, Mobility of Children. 1. Referencing. Problems associated with obstacles to the mobility of children have been in the literature for decades, and include matters such as urban design, street patterns, vehicular traffic, distance, safety, crossing guards, sidewalk provision and maintenance, and so on. In several presentations in Session II (as well as in Session I), references are limited to research done in very recent years, and seriously misrepresent how long situations has been known to exist, and how long solutions or changes have been awaited. 2. Knowing the literature. There is a well-established, decades-old literature on how school quality factors affect decisions about residential choice decisions. Current research would likely be more useful if it focused on why and how residential and transportation mode choices interrelate for households that have children or plan to have children,. 3. Knowing how cities work. Municipalities have laws and by-laws regarding the construction and maintenance of infrastructure that affects children’s mobility, and liability can extend beyond financial costs/compensation to include professional misconduct penalties and even criminal charges. The legal dimension as a means to remedy unsafe or unsatisfactory situations that affect the mobility of children (and other vulnerable transportation facility users) warrants attention as a first resort when applying research methods, techniques or findings to real-world situations. 4. Knowing the subject matter. This is a challenge in any non-trivial field of inquiry, but when the research in the public domain the need to be ‘up to speed’ is sharply higher. Simply put, not having a solid understanding of the state of knowledge in a field, and particularly in one where conventions are being challenged, invariably leads to research limitations. By way of illustration, the term ‘improvements’ has been used for many years in the civil and traffic engineering fields, generally to
  93. 93. refer to initiatives that are designed to move more vehicles faster with less cost and inconvenience for the vehicle operators and their passengers, clients or owners. As cases in point, road widenings and intersection enlargements are frequently referred to as ‘improvements’, but they are actually just modifications: both features are just bigger, not necessarily better after the so-called improvements, and could represent worsened situations for some road users. For the past decade more of the alternative transportation literature that deals with the modes used by children and teens -- walking, cycling, transit -- has focused on expressing improvements in “people terms”, such as increasing children’s mobility, promoting children’s good health, reducing children’s obesity, reducing numbers and rates of collisions between vehicles and children, and encouraging children to increase their propensity to walk, cycle or use transit. 5. Retaining credibility as a researcher. Terms like “index” occupy a very critical place in the transportation literature, and their role increases with the complexity of processes and circumstances. If such a term is mentioned in an abstract or a slide, it is imperative that the index formulation, for example, be included in the presentation. To mention and not discuss important terms can be taken as ‘name dropping’ at best. A useful rule or test to apply in this case is to look for concepts that are mentioned but not discussed, and then assess whether the discussion is necessary to make the presentation self- contained and complete. If the answer is “No”, then maybe the honest thing to do is to drop the term from the report. 6. Making the geographic aspects or factors of the research explicit. It is expected that at a meeting of geographers the geographic aspects or factors considered in research into “Increasing the Mobility of Children” will be a central part of the presentation. Many geographers attend the annual meetings of various disciplines and professional associations -- economics, sociology, operations research, traffic engineering, public health, law enforcement, road safety, etc., to learn about why and how their fields contribute to the mission of “Increasing the Mobility of Children”.’ It is both sensible and fair that we reciprocate. Moreover, if we do not discuss the importance of geography to this issue, who will? Barry Wellar, MCIP Professor Emeritus University of Ottawa