Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

Neighbourhood environments and travel behaviours of children and their parents

Rates of active transport (i.e. walking/cycling from place to place) among school-aged children have declined markedly over recent decades. Consequently, children miss opportunities for habitual physical activity. Whilst some studies have examined levels of adult accompaniment on children’s active trips, few have investigated how children’s trips may be influenced by those of other household members. This study draws on data from the Victorian Integrated Survey of Travel and Activity (VISTA) that includes information (e.g. mode, purpose, duration) on all trips made by each member of thousands of households across Victoria on a single day. This study aims to examine:

  1. How are built environment and household level factors associated with accompaniment and trip-chaining (e.g. stopping at other destination(s) while traveling between home and school) for primary school-aged children and their adult carers?
  2. How do adults’ and children’s trip-chaining and accompaniment patterns interact to influence children’s travel mode(s) and physical activity throughout the day?
  3. Does complexity of adults’ accompaniment and trip-chaining influence children’s travel mode(s) and daily physical activity levels (time spent walking/cycling as a contribution to meeting physical activity guidelines)?
  4. Does complexity of children’s trip chaining influence their mode use and daily physical activity levels?


Dr Alison Carver, ACU
Associate Professor Rebecca Bentley, University of Melbourne
Dr Alison Barr, University of Melbourne
Dr Suzanne Mavoa, University of Melbourne
Distinguished Professor Billie Giles-Corti, RMIT University
Associate Professor Hannah Badland, RMIT University

Dr Alison Carver is conducting this research in her role as Chief Investigator on ARC Linkage Project (LP140100680), based at University of Melbourne (2015-18), partnering with VicHealth, VicRoads, Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure.