Understanding School Travel: How Residential Location Choice and the Built Environment Affect Trips to School

Yizhao Yang, University of Oregon



This project looks at the issues related to parents’ decisions about children’s school transportation, and examines school transportation in the context of where families live and how families make decisions about school travel in the process of choosing their residence. Specifically, this study tries to answer the following three questions: • Is children’s school commuting explicitly considered when households decide where to live? • To what degree does parents’ preference for active school commuting (ASC) affect their decision-making process for residential location? • To what degree does parents’ consideration of using ASC during the housinglocation selection process affect later school-travel behavior? This project employed both quantitative and qualitative methods to answer these questions. The 4J School District in Lane County, OR, was used as the study area for conducting surveys and interviews. Discounting 126 non-deliverables, 1,197 surveys were returned at a 21 percent response rate. A comparison of several socio-demographic and housing characteristics of the sample to those of the population suggests that the survey response is reasonably representative of all households of elementary school students in the school district. Four focus groups were conducted involving three parent-only groups and one made up of professionals (city planners, real estate agents and school district administrators). In addition, 13 key informants knowledgeable about schools, residential-location decisions and transportation were interviewed. Information collected through these interviews provided supplementary information and insights into the analytical results based on survey data.

Project Details

Project Type:
Project Status:
End Date:
January 29,2009
UTC Grant Cycle:
OTREC 2008
UTC Funding: