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Children’s Active School Travel: Examining the Combined Perceived and Objective Built-Environment Factors from Space Syntax

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Article number286
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2/01/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number1
Number of pages22
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Increasing active school travel (AST) among children may provide the required level of daily physical activity and reduce the prevalence of obesity. Despite efforts to promote this mode, recent evidence shows that AST rates continue to decrease in suburban and urban areas alike. The aim of this research study, therefore, is to facilitate our understanding of how objective and perceived factors near the home influence children’s AST in an understudied city, İstanbul, Turkey. Using data from a cross-sectional sample of students aged 12–14 from 20 elementary schools (n = 1802) and consenting parents (n = 843), we applied a nominal logistic regression model to highlight important predictors of AST. The findings showed that street network connectivity (as measured by two novel space syntax measures, metric reach and directional reach) was the main deciding factor for active commuting to school, while parents’ perceptions of condition of sidewalks and shade-casting street trees were moderately significant factors associated with AST. Overall, this study demonstrated the significance of spatial structure of street network around the homes in the potential for encouraging AST, and more importantly, the need to consider objective and perceived environmental attributes when strategizing means to increase this mode choice and reduce ill-health among children.