A Conceptual Framework for Modelling Safe Walking and Cycling Routes to High Schools

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 May 10;17(9):3318. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17093318.


Active transport to or from school presents an opportunity for adolescents to engage in daily physical activity. Multiple factors influence whether adolescents actively travel to/from school. Creating safe walking and cycling routes to school is a promising strategy to increase rates of active transport. This article presents a comprehensive conceptual framework for modelling safe walking and cycling routes to high schools. The framework has been developed based on several existing relevant frameworks including (a) ecological models, (b) the "Five Es" (engineering, education, enforcement, encouragement, and evaluation) framework of transport planning, and (c) a travel mode choice framework for school travel. The framework identifies built environment features (land use mix, pedestrian/cycling infrastructure, neighbourhood aesthetics, and accessibility to local facilities) and traffic safety factors (traffic volume and speed, safe road crossings, and quality of path surface) to be considered when modelling safe walking/cycling routes to high schools. Future research should test this framework using real-world data in different geographical settings and with a combination of tools for the assessment of both macro-scale and micro-scale built environment features. To be effective, the modelling and creation of safe routes to high schools should be complemented by other interventions, including education, enforcement, and encouragement in order to minimise safety concerns and promote active transport.

Keywords: active transport; adolescents; built environment; cycling; framework; safe route; school; traffic safety; walking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bicycling*
  • Built Environment*
  • Environment Design*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Schools
  • Transportation
  • Walking*