Travelling to school: walking, cycling or on the backseat of the car? A cross-sectional analysis on the influences on the decision to walk, cycle or travel passively to primary schools in the Netherlands.
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Childhood obesity is increasing, partly caused by a lack of physical activity. Active transport to school (ATS) is a way to counteract this, but international ATS rates are dropping and children are becoming backseat children. Little is known about the Dutch ATS situation and the different influences on walking and cycling. In this research the influence of the characteristics of the individual, household, trip, built environment and weather on the transport mode decision of Dutch primary school children is examined. With the use of the national Movement research in the Netherlands 2012 (Onderzoek Verplaatsing in Nederland) 7,464 home-to-school trips were analyzed with binary logistic regression analysis, of which 5,817 children travelled actively (78%). The decision between active and passive transport was mostly influenced by distance, age of the child, the transport modes in a household and the weather. Of all active travelers two-third cycled. This was also mostly decided by distance, and further by the level of urbanization and ethnicity. To increase ATS and cycling rates, solutions are to build drop-off zones further from school, organizing walking and cycling school busses and increasing traffic and cycling skills, with a special focus on non-native children and their parents.