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Parental chauffeurs – Driving Kids to School

50 hours a month driving the children to school - The Telegraph

50 hours a month driving the children to school – The Telegraph

The Journal of Transport Geography, January 2013, Volume 26, p. 72-77 will have a paper by Alison Carver, Anna Timperio and David Crawford titled Parental chauffeurs: what drives their transport choice? The paper looks at the prevalence, reported reasons and socio-demographic correlates of why parents drive their children to/from school and other local destinations. The abstract for the paper follows and a copy of the paper can be purchased from the journal publisher if desired.

The abstract of the paper, Parental chauffeurs: what drives their transport choice? follows:

Despite the widely acknowledged health benefits of active transport (e.g. walking/cycling), many parents drive their children to/from school and to other local destinations. We aimed to explore the prevalence, reported reasons and socio-demographic correlates of these behaviours. Using surveys of 430 primary and 258 secondary schoolchildren and their parents, we examined whether parents drove their child home from school and to local destinations within walking distance. We found a third of the sample, in particular around half of all primary schoolchildren, were driven home from school. Most children usually had parental accompaniment on local trips and were almost always driven. Using regression analyses we examined which of the following were associated with these behaviours: distance (to school); social trust; concern about injury while crossing a road; urban/rural location; attending primary/secondary school; sex, age of child; at least one parent not being employed full-time; household car access. In the analysis social trust and concern about injury were prominent explanatory variables. The results suggest public policy interventions that aim to improve road safety, increase community connectedness and build social trust may be important to encourage active transport for children.

and the highlights from the paper are:

  • Despite the health benefits of active transport parental chauffeuring was pervasive.
  • Parental employment patterns were related to chauffeuring to school, not elsewhere.
  • Concern about traffic injury was related to parental chauffeuring to local places.
  • Social trust was inversely associated with parental chauffeuring to school/locally.
  • Initiatives to increase road safety and social trust may promote active transport.

I find these studies interesting as parents seem to miss the point that they are the traffic, that they are the traffic that they perceive as being dangerous. Personally I am glad I no longer need to ride pass some local schools. That was a scary experience if I had to past a school at drop-off/pick-up times as the parents where frankly some of the most irresponsible drivers around.

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