Special Issue "Promotion of Active Commuting to School"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 February 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Palma Chillón Garzón
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Physical Education and Sport, Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Granada, 18071 Granada, Spain
Interests: physical activity; fitness; physical education; active commuting to school

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are organizing a Special Issue on “Promotion of Active Commuting to School” in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The venue is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that publishes articles and communications in the interdisciplinary area of environmental health sciences and public health. For detailed information on the journal, we refer you to https://0-www-mdpi-com.brum.beds.ac.uk/journal/ijerph.

Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for mortality worldwide, and most young people fail to meet the physical activity recommendations. Active forms of commuting to school, such as walking and cycling, provide a daily opportunity for physical activity and can contribute to meeting physical activity guidelines and the associated health benefits. In addition, active commuting to school may have other co-benefits, such as reductions in air pollution and traffic congestion in urban areas. Despite these health and environmental benefits, longitudinal studies show a decline in children’s active commuting in many developed countries. Although school is considered to be a potential key context to promoting active commuting to school, most school-based interventions have shown small or non-significant effects.

We invite investigators to contribute original research and review articles that will stimulate ongoing efforts to understand the diversity of factors that facilitate and/or inhibit the behavior of active commuting to school and create and share the best available evidence on the effectiveness of interventions to promote active commuting to school. Qualitative quantitative and mixed designs are welcome. Potential topics include but are not limited to (a) prevalence of modes of commuting to school, (b) benefits of active commuting to school, (c) correlates and determinants associated with active commuting to school, (d) effectiveness and feasibility of interventions to promote active commuting to school, and (e) implementation research in the scope of the promotion of active commuting to school.

Assoc. Prof. Palma Chillón Garzón
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Active commuting
  • Active transportation
  • Health-related
  • Public health
  • Physical activity
  • Fitness
  • Psychosocial
  • Social support
  • Quality of life
  • Environment
  • Emissions
  • Walkability
  • Bikeability
  • Interventions
  • School-setting

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
Children’s Experiences of Their Journey to School: Integrating Behaviour Change Frameworks to Inform the Role of the Built Environment in Active School Travel Promotion
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 4992; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18094992 - 08 May 2021
Viewed by 983
Abstract
Childhood obesity is a public health problem with multiple effects on children’s life. Promoting Active School Travel (AST) could provide an inclusive opportunity for physical activity and shape healthy behaviours. Data for this cross-sectional study were drawn from questionnaires carried out in five [...] Read more.
Childhood obesity is a public health problem with multiple effects on children’s life. Promoting Active School Travel (AST) could provide an inclusive opportunity for physical activity and shape healthy behaviours. Data for this cross-sectional study were drawn from questionnaires carried out in five primary schools located in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, in neighbourhoods chosen for their variability in IMD (index of multiple deprivation) and spatial structure of street networks (measured through space syntax measure of integration). A randomly selected and heterogenic sample of 145 pupils (aged 9–10) completed an open-ended questionnaire to state what they like and dislike about their journey to school. Thematic analysis identified four typologies (environmental context, emotions, social influences and trip factors) based on the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) and specific themes and sub-themes underlying children’s affective experiences of their journeys to school. This study is the first known to authors to attempt to adapt the Capability, Opportunity and Motivation Behaviour (COM-B) model into AST and children’s experiences and associated behavioural domains with design aspects. Such an insight into children’s attitudes could inform urban planners and designers about how to apply more effective behaviour change interventions, targeting an AST increase among children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promotion of Active Commuting to School)
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Article
Socio-Demographic Correlates of Cycling to School among 12- to 15-Year Olds in Southern Germany
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9269; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17249269 - 11 Dec 2020
Viewed by 742
Abstract
Depending on the region and urbanization level, the rate of cycling to school in Germany varies largely. The influence of distance from home to school, educational level, the school’s region, and parents’ socio-demographic characteristics on cycling to secondary school in Germany is unclear. [...] Read more.
Depending on the region and urbanization level, the rate of cycling to school in Germany varies largely. The influence of distance from home to school, educational level, the school’s region, and parents’ socio-demographic characteristics on cycling to secondary school in Germany is unclear. Therefore, this study analyzed students’ and parents’ socio-demographic correlates of cycling to school, including separate analyses by gender, among 12- to 15-year-olds attending different (sub)urban schools in Southern Germany. In 2019, 121 students (girls: 40.5%, boys: 59.5%) aged 13.1 ± 0.9 and 42 parents (mothers: 81%, fathers: 19%) aged 47.8 ± 5.5 participated. Students completed a self-report questionnaire; parents completed a self- and proxy-report questionnaire. In total, between 61.7% and 67.5% of students sometimes cycled to school. Binary logistic regressions revealed that being a girl, increasing age, attending an intermediate educational level combined with a suburban school region (small or medium-sized town), increasing distance from home to school, and having parents who did not cycle to work led to declining odds of cycling to school. Many 12- to 15-year-olds sometimes cycled to school in (sub)urban school regions in Southern Germany. As several socio-demographic characteristics correlated with cycling to school, this should be considered when developing a future school-based bicycle intervention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promotion of Active Commuting to School)
Article
Feasibility and Reliability of a Questionnaire to Assess the Mode, Frequency, Distance and Time of Commuting to and from School: The PACO Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(14), 5039; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17145039 - 13 Jul 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 779
Abstract
Active commuting to and from school has several health implications. Self-reporting is the most common assessment tool, but there is a high heterogeneity of questionnaires in the scientific literature. The purpose of this study was to analyse the feasibility and reliability of the [...] Read more.
Active commuting to and from school has several health implications. Self-reporting is the most common assessment tool, but there is a high heterogeneity of questionnaires in the scientific literature. The purpose of this study was to analyse the feasibility and reliability of the Spanish “New Version of Mode and Frequency of Commuting To and From School” questionnaire in children and adolescents. A total of 635 children (5–12 years old) and 362 adolescents (12–18 years old) filled out the questionnaire twice (14 days apart). Feasibility was evaluated using an observational checklist. The test-retest reliability of the “New Version of Mode and Frequency of Commuting To and From School” questionnaire and the distance and time to school were examined using the kappa and weight kappa coefficient (κ). No misunderstanding of questions was reported. The time to complete the questionnaire was 15 ± 3.62 and 9 ± 2.26 min for children and adolescents, respectively. The questionnaire showed substantial and almost perfect kappa coefficients for the overall six items (k = 0.61–0.94) in children and adolescents. The “New Version of Mode and Frequency of Commuting To and From School” questionnaire is a feasible and reliable questionnaire in Spanish children and adolescents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promotion of Active Commuting to School)
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Article
Long-Term Perspectives of a School-Based Intervention to Promote Active School Transportation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(14), 5006; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17145006 - 12 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1209
Abstract
There is a global need for sustainable interventions that increase physical activity among children, and active school transportation (AST) can promote physical activity among schoolchildren. Therefore, an intervention based on gamification, empowerment, and social cognitive theory was initiated in 2016 to promote AST. [...] Read more.
There is a global need for sustainable interventions that increase physical activity among children, and active school transportation (AST) can promote physical activity among schoolchildren. Therefore, an intervention based on gamification, empowerment, and social cognitive theory was initiated in 2016 to promote AST. The aim of this study was to follow up on participants’ experiences one and two years after the AST intervention was initiated. Data were collected through focus groups and individual interviews which were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Thirty-one pupils (2017), and forty pupils (2018) aged 9–10 years, two teachers (2017, 2018) and one principal (2018) participated in the study. The result is presented as one main theme; “Unity for an active community-An intervention towards making the active choice the easy choice” and three sub-themes; “Well begun is half done-Engagement sparks motivation”, “It takes two to tango-Keep moving with gamifications and togetherness” and “Jumping on the bandwagon–From project to everyday use.” The results show that the concept of the intervention was attractive to re-use and that it created a habit to use AST among the children. Interventions to promote AST can benefit from the use of engagement, togetherness, and gamification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promotion of Active Commuting to School)
Article
School Neighbourhood Built Environment Assessment for Adolescents’ Active Transport to School: Modification of an Environmental Audit Tool and Protocol (MAPS Global-SN)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2194; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17072194 - 25 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1405
Abstract
School neighbourhood built environments (SN-BE) can influence adolescents’ active transport to school habits. Typically, SN-BE assessment has involved micro-scale (i.e., environmental audits) or macro-scale (Geographic Information Systems (GIS)) assessment tools. However, existing environmental audits are time/resource-intensive and not specific to school neighbourhoods, while [...] Read more.
School neighbourhood built environments (SN-BE) can influence adolescents’ active transport to school habits. Typically, SN-BE assessment has involved micro-scale (i.e., environmental audits) or macro-scale (Geographic Information Systems (GIS)) assessment tools. However, existing environmental audits are time/resource-intensive and not specific to school neighbourhoods, while GIS databases are not generally purposed to include micro-scale data. This study evaluated the inter-rater reliability and feasibility of using a modified audit tool and protocol (Microscale Audit of Pedestrian Streetscapes Global–School Neighbourhood (MAPS Global-SN)) to assess the SN-BE of twelve secondary schools in Dunedin, New Zealand. Correlations between MAPS Global-SN and GIS measures of the SN-BE were also examined. Specifically, MAPS Global-SN audit and GIS spatial analysis (intersection density, residential density, land use mix, walkability) was conducted within a 0.5 km street-network buffer-zone around all twelve schools. Based on investigator and expert consultation, MAPS Global-SN included eight modifications to both auditing processes and items. Inter-rater reliability data was collected from two independent auditors across two schools. The feasibility of a condensed audit protocol (auditing one side of each street segment in the neighbourhood, compared to both sides) was also assessed. Results indicated the modified MAPS Global-SN tool had good to excellent inter-rater reliability and the condensed MAPS Global-SN audit protocol appeared to sufficiently represent the micro-scale SN-BE. Results also highlighted the complementary nature of micro- and macro-scale assessments. Further recommendations for SN-BE assessment are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promotion of Active Commuting to School)
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Study Protocol
A School-Based Randomized Controlled Trial to Promote Cycling to School in Adolescents: The PACO Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 2066; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18042066 - 20 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 930
Abstract
This manuscript describes the rationale and protocol of a school-based randomized controlled trial called “Cycling and Walk to School” (PACO, by its Spanish acronym) that aims to promote cycling to and from school and physical activity (PA) in adolescents. This study will examine [...] Read more.
This manuscript describes the rationale and protocol of a school-based randomized controlled trial called “Cycling and Walk to School” (PACO, by its Spanish acronym) that aims to promote cycling to and from school and physical activity (PA) in adolescents. This study will examine the effects of this intervention in cycling and active commuting to and from school (ACS), PA and several ACS-related factors based on self-determination theory (SDT) and a social-ecological model (SEM). A total of 360 adolescents attending six high schools (three experimental and three control) from three Spanish cities will participate in this randomized controlled trial. The intervention (four cycling sessions; 1–2 h per session, one session per week) will be conducted by the research staff; the control group will continue their usual activities. PA levels will be measured by accelerometers, whereas ACS and the other study variables will be self-reported using questionnaires at baseline and post-intervention. The primary outcomes will be: rates of cycling to school, ACS and PA levels. In addition, SDT-related variables and individual, interpersonal, community, and environment variables relevant to ACS will be based on SEM. The findings will provide a comprehensive understanding of the short-term effects of this school-based intervention on cycling to school behaviour, ACS and PA levels in Spanish adolescents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promotion of Active Commuting to School)
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Protocol
Objective Measures to Assess Active Commuting Physical Activity to School in Young People: A Systematic Review Protocol and Practical Considerations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5936; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17165936 - 15 Aug 2020
Viewed by 1015
Abstract
There are no systematic reviews that have identified the existing studies assessing active commuting physical activity (PA) to and from (to/from) school using objective measures, as well as the contribution of both walking and cycling to/from school to PA levels. To fill this [...] Read more.
There are no systematic reviews that have identified the existing studies assessing active commuting physical activity (PA) to and from (to/from) school using objective measures, as well as the contribution of both walking and cycling to/from school to PA levels. To fill this gap in the literature, this systematic review will aim (a) to identify existing studies that assess active commuting PA to/from school with objective measures in young people and to examine the contribution of walking and cycling to/from school to PA levels, and (b) to propose an appropriate methodology and practical considerations to assess active commuting PA to/from school based on the studies identified. The review protocol was registered in PROSPERO (CRD42020162004). We will conduct a systematic search up to 2020 in five databases: PubMed, Web of Science, SPORTdiscuss, Cochrane Library, and National Transportation Library. Both the risk of bias and the quality of the identified studies will be evaluated through different instruments according to the design of each study. This systematic review will help to choose the most appropriate objective measures to assess active commuting PA to/from school and to promote walking and cycling to/from school to increase PA levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promotion of Active Commuting to School)
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