Children’s Transport Built Environments: A Mixed Methods Study of Associations between Perceived and Objective Measures and Relationships with Parent Licence for Independent Mobility in Auckland, New Zealand
School of Nursing, The University of Auckland, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
School of Environment, The University of Auckland, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK
Human Potential Centre, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
Social and Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation (SHORE), Massey University, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne 3010, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(8), 1361; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16081361
Received: 15 March 2019 / Revised: 12 April 2019 / Accepted: 13 April 2019 / Published: 16 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Walkable Neighborhoods: The Link between Public Health, Urban Design, and Transportation)
Children’s independent mobility is declining internationally. Parents are the gatekeepers of children’s independent mobility. This mixed methods study investigates whether parent perceptions of the neighbourhood environment align with objective measures of the neighbourhood built environment, and how perceived and objective measures relate to parental licence for children’s independent mobility. Parents participating in the Neighbourhood for Active Kids study (n = 940) answered an open-ended question about what would make their neighbourhoods better for their child’s independent mobility, and reported household and child demographics. Objective measures of the neighbourhood built environment were generated using geographic information systems. Content analysis was used to classify and group parent-reported changes required to improve their neigbourhood. Parent-reported needs were then compared with objective neighbourhood built environment measures. Linear mixed modelling examined associations between parental licence for independent mobility and (1) parent neighbourhood perceptions; and (2) objectively assessed neighbourhood built environment features. Parents identified the need for safer traffic environments. No significant differences in parent reported needs were found by objectively assessed characteristics. Differences in odds of reporting needs were observed for a range of socio-demographic characteristics. Parental licence for independent mobility was only associated with a need for safer places to cycle (positive) and objectively assessed cycling infrastructure (negative) in adjusted models. Overall, the study findings indicate the importance of safer traffic environments for children’s independent mobility.