Parents' travel mode choice for their children's leisure journeys - role of trust.

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Many parents perceive the urban environment as hazardous for their children and therefore prescribe and circumscribe young people’s access to the environment (Malone, 2001). Consequently, spontaneous unregulated play in neighbourhood spaces is decreasing as children are primarily encouraged to participate in regulated play environments in their homes, friends houses and commercial facilities. Simultaneously children’s allowance to walk and cycle on their own has decreased substantially during the last decades (Hillman, 1993). Therefore, children are more often taken by car to various activities. This change of travel mode not only affects the children’s physical and psychological development negatively. It also makes a significant contribution to local and global environmental problems. Although parents sometimes themselves choose to walk, cycle or go by public transport for environmental reasons, this does not apply for trips to their children’s leisure activities (Tillberg, 2001). Tanner (1999) suggested that also constraints for pro-environmental choice of travel modes must be considered, if people’s car usage should be understood. This research aims to get a better understanding of what constraints parents perceive for substituting the car with more pro-environmental travel modes for their children’s journeys. The project focuses on children’s leisure time journeys within urban areas. Theoretically it takes its point of departure from a model of human and environment interaction developed by Küller (1991). According to this model the individual’s reaction on the environment, in this case the parent’s choice of travel mode can be seen as a response to the physical and social environment. The model also takes into consideration the type of journey and the child’s age and maturity as well as the parent’s individual characteristics and resources. In the latter aspect there has been a special interest in the concepts of interpersonal and environmental trust. Interpersonal trust-mistrust has been defined as the tendency to view other persons as trustworthy respectively unreliable and harmful (Omodei & McLennan, 2000; Ross & Joon Jung, 2000), whereas environmental trust could be described as a sense of confidence and trust in all types of environments both human made and natural (Bunting & Cousins, 1985; McKehnie, 1977). The present paper analyses the importance of various components of the model to the parents’ attitudes towards travel modes and actual travel mode for their children’s journeys. The empirical data was obtained in a questionnaire survey including 357 Swedish parents with children aged 8-11 years in the cities of Malmö and Lund. By means of factor analysis three distinct attitudes towards travel modes where identified. 1) the attitude towards motorised transports, such as chauffeuring the child, 2) the attitude towards accompanying the child and 3) the attitude towards the child travelling alone, either walking or cycling. In multiple regression analyses the attitude towards motorised transports where explained by the child’s maturity as well as the design of the physical environment in terms of amount of traffic and the standard of walk- and cycle paths. The attitude towards accompanying the child was dependent on similar factors. Furthermore, the attitude towards allowing the child to travel alone was also explained by the child’s age and maturity, but the parents’ individual characteristics such as level of personal and environmental trust came out as much more important. The role of environmental, social and individual characteristics will also be analysed in relation to the parents’ actual travel mode choice as measured by a one-week travel diary.


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Titel på värdpublikationEvaluation in Progress - Strategies for Environmental Research and Implementation. IAPS 18 Conference Proceedings on CD-Rom
RedaktörerB Martens, EG Keul
FörlagIAPS Association
ISBN (tryckt)3-85437-263-9
StatusPublished - 2004
Peer review utfördJa
EvenemangIAPS 18 - Vienna
Varaktighet: 2004 jul 72004 jul 9


KonferensIAPS 18