The purposes of this study are to explore children’s independent mobility, that is the degree to which children of different ages are allowed to make trips to school, friends, shops, and other destinations unaccompanied by adults within the Arab communities in Israel and to study the influence of the demographic and socio-economic characteristics, built environment, geographical location, cultural context, and risk perceptions on children’s independent mobility.
This study is based on a questionnaire given to children between 9 and 15 years old studying in 4th to 9th grades and to one parent or primary caregiver. The methodology of this study is based on descriptive statistics comparing independent mobility licenses and travel behavior of two school children groups: Arab and Jewish children. In addition logistic regression models were developed to study the influence of different factors on independent mobility such as: car availability, gender, age, social class, and so on. In order to examine whether children with independent mobility do more and have access to a wider range of activities than those who do not, a linear regression analysis was performed with the dependent variable being the number of unaccompanied journeys to the various activities in the weekend.
Results clearly show that boys were granted greater freedom in terms of mobility licenses, as were secondary school children compared with those attending primary school. Walking is still the main commuting mode to school. One of the important findings in this study is that children are not interested in walking. That is, regardless of the built environment and parents driving options, children prefer to be driven.
This study will provide essential information for the development of policies and interventions in urban planning, transport planning, community development, community safety initiatives, and health planning.
This study is among the first to examine levels of independent mobility among the Arab school children in Israel, as well as their participation in active transport (e.g., walking/cycling) during journeys to school and to other local destinations.
Therefore, this study will hopefully provide a baseline for future studies in this area and act as a catalyst for more research into independence and mobility, and how this impacts sustainability.
Elias, W. (2015), "Children’s Independent Mobility in Israel: Case Study of the Arab Population Group", Sustainable Urban Transport (Transport and Sustainability, Vol. 7), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 65-91. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2044-994120150000007014
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