“Teenager's Travel Patterns for School and After-School Activities.”

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  • Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 48 ( 2012 ) 3635 3650

    1877-0428 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer review under responsibility of the Programme Committee of the Transport Research Arena 2012 doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.06.1326

    Transport Research Arena Europe 2012

    Teenagers Travel Patterns for Schooland After-School Activities.

    Maria Kamargiannia*, Amalia Polydoropouloub, Konstadinos G. Gouliasc

    a PhD Candidate, Department of Shipping Trade and Transport, University of the Aegean, Korai 2A, 68100, Greeceb Professor, Department of Shipping Trade and Transport, University of the Aegean, Korai 2A, 68100, Greece cProfessor, Department of Geography, University of California at Santa Barbara, 5706 Ellison Hall, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA

    Abstract

    Significant differences in activity and travel patterns are found in this paper among teenagers in three different urban environments in Greece. Using a sample of 364 high-school students, aged from 12 to 18 years old, representing different urban and rural geographic areas and through personal interviews at schools and via a web questionnaire, teenagers state of engaging in simpler tours in the morning (Home-School-Home) and more complex activity chains in the afternoon, since the vast majority participates in outdoor activities. Seventeen (17) different travel patterns were identified for the morning activities and forty three (43) for the after-school activities. Due to the limited public transport availability in rural areas, teenagers tend to utilize motorcycles with the consent of their parents, even if they are unlicensed. Moreover, model estimations regarding mode choice show that parental caregiving and attitudes towards active transport and environmental protection affect mode choice behavior. Recommended policy actions include improvements in public transportation services; identification of safer routes for after school activities (e.g., sports and leisure); and development of educational programs for parents and kids promoting active transportation. Key words: Teenagers, Travel Behavior, Mobility, Active Trips, School Transportation

    1. Introduction The ages of 12 to 18 are recognized as being a crucial period in a young persons life, when initial steps to independent adulthood are taken. In addition, the cultural icon of the teenager has now matured into an established market segment increasingly targeted by the private sector (Datz et al., 2005). In contrast, travel behavior research and the transport industry/sector lag behind in recognizing the importance of this

    * Corresponding author. Tel.: +0044-07513 863 160; fax: +30-22710 35215. E-mail address: kamargianni@aegean.gr

    Available online at www.sciencedirect.com

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    age group as a shaper of policies and in developing strategies and campaigns required for effective targeting and guiding desirable behaviors. In fact, the vast majority of travel behavior research addresses adults leaving a gap in the literature on investigating the factors that affect teenagers travel behavior. Moreover, the growing trend of escorting underage persons by car added to their invisibility as transport consumers. In fact, young persons in transport research are characterized as victims or problems but not until recently as complex actors or strategists whose views, attitudes, and travel behavior are worthy of investigation (Simpson, 1997; NCB, 1998; Davis et al., 1996; Jones et al., 2000; Thomsen, 2004; Cain, 2006). However, more than ever before teenagers live in more complex environments that increase their need to travel. On the one hand, their activity participation and mobility are constrained by parental consent and age restrictions on driving. On the other hand, their burgeoning maturity grants them increased license to make independent decisions and spend time without adults supervision. However, their travel behavior remains largely unrecorded and there is an increasing interest in researching young peoples perceptions of travel behavior (Joshi, 1995; Jones et al., 1998; Clifton, 2010), and pressing need to understand how policies might be re-framed to meet their needs, as part of a wider research agenda on risk and safety. Moreover, studying the travel behavior of teenagers is an important subject, since habits developed at this age shape their travel behavior as adults. Every day teenagers are making trips to school, after-school private tutorial lessons, sports activities, entertainment activities, visiting friends, parks and a host of other destinations. How teenagers travel on those trips has significant environmental, economic and safety impacts on society but also short and long term health impacts on the teenagers (Obrien and Gilberd, 2003; Antoniou et al., 2009). In recent years many surveys in the US and the UK have investigated elementary children transport behavior and especially transport to school behavior. However, in other European countries little research have been done on this topic. However, in the Mediterranean countries due to differences in culture and education the attitudes and perceptions of teenagers might differ from those in US and UK, though to the best of our knowledge no research has been conducted on this topic. In 1999, a study was conducted in the United Kingdom examining the issue of young people and crime on public transportation (Stafford et al., 1999). A survey of 582 people between the ages of 11 and 19 years old was conducted as part of the study. The questionnaire collected information on existing travel behavior characteristics, as well as attitudes towards public transport and car ownership, and suggestions for encouraging public transport trans use among young people. The results showed that teens in the UK utilized a variety of transportation modes for the trip to school. The most common mode across all age groups was walking, at around 50 %, followed by the school bus, public buses and private car. Moreover, the majority of teens does not use public transport alone, and is more likely to ride with friends, siblings, or parents. The study also noted that children and young people living in households without a car were more likely to use public buses for non-school related trips. With regards the perceptions and attitudes the subject was introduced with a reference to previous study (Goodwin et al., 1983) which had found that travel habits developed at a young age could influence subsequent behavior, and that those who were not regular public transport users as young people were less likely to be public transport users in adult life. Furthermore, it was noted that negative experiences with using public transport as young people could have a negative impact on travel choices as an adult (Goodwin et al., 1983). The Stafford study found that perceptions of public transport were predominantly negative. Teens were critical of cost, availability and frequency, cleanliness and comfort, information and safety. In 2002, the EU Commission published the document Kids on the Move that was developed to assist local politicians, teachers, and parents with efforts to improve the mobility and health of Europes 90 million children. Kids on the Move presents research evidence that childrens health is at risk from current transportation practices in Europe. Between 15 and 20% of journeys made involve children and

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    young people. Also, 50% of children do not play outside and EU citizens are dissatisfied over the actions taken by the public authorities for the protection of the environment. Kids on the Move discusses methods for reducing the volume of traffic in areas where children travel, making public transport more accessible and attractive for parents and children, opportunities for making walking (EU Commission, 2002). In 2003, a report titled Kids on the Move in Halton-Peel was published by the Center for Sustainable Transportation in Ontario, Canada (OBrien and Gilbert, 2003). The study was inspired by another Kids on the Move project conducted by the European Union in 2002. The researchers used data from the 2001 phase of the Transportation Tomorrow Survey (TTS), finding that teenagers from 12 to 18 years old made 2.48 trips per day, while 2.30 in 1986. Also, the analysis showed that public transport trips being generally much more common, and increasing significantly with age to become the most prevalent mode by the age of around 16. More specific, the researchers concluded that until about the age of 18, travel on schooldays is dominated by the journey to and from school; among 11 to 14 year olds, just over half of these trips are made by school bus (28%) or by car (23%).This occurs to the detriment of car-based travel modes and the school bus. In 2003, Clifton with data from the 1995 Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey (NPTS) investigated the degree of independence in teenage travel and how teenagers travel to after-school activities. The data analysis of the 8,568 participants aged 13 to 18 years showed that teenagers in the NPTS made over 35,000 trips, of these, after-school trips accounted for 12.4% (or 4,344 trips) of their total travel. She examined the first trips made directly after-school and found out that the majority of teenagers (71.0%) return home after school. Trips for social and recreation purposes make up the majority (7.9%) of the after-school trips away from home. Furthermore, the results showed that as students age, there is a decline in the percentage of trips made directly home and that the private automobile plays a significant role in after-school transport across all age groups. Although car drivers license in the US can be obtained at age 16, the research concluded that independent movement is limited and that many teenagers are reliant on adults for most of their travel. Another survey of the Department of Transport in Florida (Datz et al., 2005) examined the teenage attitudes and perceptions regarding public transport use. For the analysis, they used data of 23 onboard survey reports from 1998 to 2005 from different public transport agencies around the state reporting that teenagers rely heavily on the automobile, with public transport accounting for only around 1 to 3% of total trips. Also, safety while traveling was found to be a major issue for both parents and teenagers, and had a major impact on teenage travel behavior presumably due to a perception of unsafe urban environment, particularly after dark. Yoon et al. (2011) using data from the 2001 post-Census travel survey conducted for the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), tried to investigate the propensity to escort children under 16 years old to school. Three binary logit models were estimated the first on independent mobility, the second on active transport and the last one on fathers escort. The estimation results show that independent mobility of children is a strong function of their socio-demographic characteristics and their family and less the urban environment. Propensity to engage in active transport, however, is more related to the population density and accessibility, and escorting of children by fathers is influenced by the relative locations of residences and jobs. Other studies focus on the school transport of elementary school students (Sidharthan et al., 2011; Seraj et al., 2010; Timperio et al., 2004; Alton et al., 2007; McMillan, 2007; McDonald, 2008a;2008b) and little work has been done on teenagers transport to school and to after-school activities behavior. The lesson learned from this literature is a need to gain more in-depth understanding of activity and travel behavior but also attitudes of teenagers separating their behavior between before and after school and examining the complexity of their travel patterns. The main objective of this paper is to highlight teenagers transport behavior and to investigate the factors that affect their travel behavior to school and to after-school activities. Specifically, the paper sets out to explore the following questions:

    - How much and in which ways do teenagers allocate their time to activities and travel? - How do their travel patterns differ among urban, rural and island (insular) areas?

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    - What transport mode do they use in simple and complex travel pattern and environments? - How propensity for active travel and parental willingness to escort their children affect travel

    patterns and mode choice? - What do these results imply for transport-related policies development?

    Teenagers daily travel behavior (to school and after school), activities and time use, perceptions and attitudes, socio-economic characteristics, are examined using data from a case study on three very different urban and rural areas in Greece that include a high density urban environment, a rural small town, and an island. The innovation of this research relies on: 1) the focus on teenagers to gather data about their activities and travel behavior; 2) the data collection methodology including: (a) the development of a questionnaire designed specifically for teenagers and used for the survey at schools and over the web; (b) the study locations allowing for the comparison of travel behavior from three distinct geographical areas; and 3) the analysis and findings that offer guidelines for policies to encourage several transport policies, to promote active transport and increase environmental consciousness. Section 2 of the paper presents the case study and the background of the three study areas. Section 3 provides a comparative data analysis followed by a brief discussion on a mode choice model for teenagers after school activities. Section 4 presents the conclusions and policy recommendations.

    2. Case study - Background Although Greece is blessed with good weather, active transport (i.e., walk and bicycle) is not widespread and the usage of motorized vehicles is steadily increasing. The majority of the teenagers rely on motorized vehicles because they are involved in many outdoor after-school activities and due to the limited public transport availability in most rural areas. Moreover, the extensive vehicle use contributes to the high number of traffic accidents, with Greece ranking among the countries with the highest number of road accidents in Europe (e.g., standardized mortality rates from road traffic injuries per 100,000 population), in the majority of which young people are involved (ETSC, 2010; WHO, 2007). Moreover, teenagers in Greece are allowed to obtain a driving license for a 50cc motorcycle at the age of 16 years o...

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