Associations between the Physical, Sociocultural, and Safety Environments and Active Transportation to School

Allison Ross, Ariel Rodríguez, Mark Searle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Understanding why youth actively transport to school (ATS) has important health, programming, and policy implications. A growing body of research has revealed that there are common factors that influence this behavior. Collectively, these influences can be categorized into 3 domains: the physical environment (PE), sociocultural environment (SCE), and safety environment (SE). Purpose: Although researchers largely agree that these constructs affect ATS, it is not clearly understood how they may interact and to what degree they may influence ATS behavior. Methods: A logistic regression analysis was performed to determine the influence of PE, SCE, and SE on the odds of walking or biking to school. Results: Both PE and SCE were directly associated with active travel, and the SE had an indirect effect. Discussion: A combination of elements from the PE and SCE significantly impacted the odds of using ATS. The impact of SE was significant enough to alter the direct influence of factors within both PE and SCE on the decision to walk or bike. Translation to Health Education Practice: Findings suggest that programming efforts and research should focus on perceptions of safety as a link to overcoming commonly cited barriers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-209
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 4 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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