The moderating effect of distance on features of the built environment and active school transport

Allison Ross, Josephine Godwyll, Marc Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Despite growing research supporting the impact of the built environment on active school transport (AST), distance persists as the most powerful predictor of walking and biking to school. There is a need to better understand how environmental features interact with distance to affect AST, and whether the influence of environmental factors persist across different distance thresholds. Multilevel models using cluster-robust standard errors were used to examine for interactions between objectively measured macroscale environmental features and several reported distances from home to school (formula presented) on the likelihood of parent reported AST for children grades 3–8 (n = 2751) at 35 schools who completed a Safe Routes to School Parent Survey about Walking and Biking to School (SRTS Parent Survey). An interaction between both intersection density and food-related land use with distance was observed. The likelihood of AST decreased as intersection density and distance increased (i.e., 31.0% reduced odds among those living within 1/4mile compared to 18.2% using 1/2–1-mile criterion). The likelihood of using AST were reduced as food-related land use and distance increased (i.e., 43.67% reduced odds among those living under 1/4mile compared to 19.83% reduced odds among those living 1/2–1 mile). Programs and infrastructure improvements focused on overcoming environmental barriers to promote AST may be most effective when targeting neighborhoods within14 mile of schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7856
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • Active school transport
  • Built environment
  • Walking and biking to school

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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