Parental barriers to active transport to school: a systematic review

Int J Public Health. 2020 Jan;65(1):87-98. doi: 10.1007/s00038-019-01313-1. Epub 2019 Nov 14.


Objectives: We aimed to systematically review parental barriers towards children and adolescents' active transport to school (ATS) in the scientific literature and to provide a categorization of the barriers identified in the studies.

Methods: A search was conducted through seven online databases, from the beginning of the database to March 2018.

Results: A total of 27 of the identified studies met the inclusion criteria. The main parental barriers reported by parents of children (21 studies) were built environment, traffic safety, distance, crime-related safety and social support. The main parental barriers reported by parents of adolescents (6 studies) were built environment (street connectivity), distance, traffic safety and physical and motivation barriers. The parental barriers associated with ATS were mainly related to the built environment and traffic safety.

Conclusions: It is crucial to involve parents through interventions to reduce the perception of safety and to increase awareness of the importance of ATS. In addition, these strategies should be complemented by environmental changes performed by local governments.

Keywords: Active commuting; Adolescents; Family; Perceived barrier; Schoolchildren.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Built Environment
  • Child
  • Crime
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Safety
  • Schools / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Support
  • Transportation / methods*
  • Walking / statistics & numerical data*