Walking to school : individual, family, neighborhood, and built environment
Ligon, Hilary A.
Thesis (M.P.P.)--Georgetown University, 2011.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. In this thesis, I ask "What factors impact the choice to have children walk to school?" Because the physical environment of a city is an expression of social dynamics, the social and built environment should be considered together. I test the hypothesis that the choice to walk to school can be explained by influences in the built environment, a family's demographic characteristics, and social influences, especially the sense of community.; Using Baltimore, Maryland as a sample, I use data from a Household Travel Survey, data from the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance, and Walk Score data that measure ease of walking in a location. I use a binomial logit model to predict the probability that a child will walk to school given individual, family, neighborhood, and physical environment characteristics.; Variables positively associated with walking include child's age and the number of community gardens in a neighborhood. Other variables, such as distances greater than one mile, higher Walk Score, greater economic diversity, and being non-white are negatively associated with walking.; The results of this study suggest that influences on children's walking behavior highlight the strengths and weaknesses of policies meant to create sustainable cities. Additionally, schools impact their communities by making it easier or harder for children to walk to school. Finally, holistic assessments of costs and benefits by policymakers would better support walking.
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