School transportation mode, by distance between home and school, United States, ConsumerStyles 2012☆
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School transportation mode, by distance between home and school, United States, ConsumerStyles 2012☆

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    • Alternative Title:
      J Safety Res
    • Description:
      Introduction Motor-vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among children in the United States, and almost one-fourth of all trips by school-aged children are trips to and from school. This study sought to determine how children (5–18 years) travel to and from school and, among those living ≤1 mile of school, to explore the role of school bus service eligibility on school travel mode. Methods We used national 2012 survey data to determine prevalence of usual school travel mode, stratified by distance from school. For those living ≤1 mile of school, multivariable regression was conducted to assess the association between bus service eligibility and walking or bicycling. Results Almost half (46.6%) of all children rode in passenger vehicles (PV) to school and 41.8% did so for the trip home. Results were similar among those living ≤1 mile (48.1%, PV to school; 41.3%, PV to home). Among those living ≤1 mile, 21.9% and 28.4% of children walked or bicycled to and from school, respectively. Ineligibility for school bus service was strongly associated with walking or bicycling to school [adjusted prevalence ratio (aPR: 5.36; p < 0.001)] and from school (aPR: 5.36; p < 0.001). Conclusions Regardless of distance from school, passenger vehicles were a common mode of travel. For children who live close to school, the role that school bus service eligibility plays in walking or bicycling deserves further consideration. Practical applications Given the large proportion of children who use passenger vehicles for school travel, effective interventions can be adopted to increase proper child restraint and seat belt use and reduce crash risks among teen drivers. Better understanding of conditions under which bus service is offered to children who live close to school could inform efforts to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety for school travel.
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