Exploring parental perceptions about school travel and walking school buses: A thematic analysis approach

Alexandros Nikitas, Judith Y.T. Wang, Cathy Knamiller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Establishing a less car-oriented mobility ethos through initiatives targeting, among others, children's travel to school could be a key for unlocking the potential for a more sustainable future. A Walking School Bus (WSB)is a relatively new and scarcely evaluated commuting mechanism that in theory provides a creative scheme capable of inspiring voluntary travel behaviour change for children and parents. Through a series of in-depth focus group sessions that were conducted in Bradford, UK this article explores the perceptions of parents that are ultimately the decision-makers about how their children go to school. This work improves the understanding of the different challenges and opportunities underpinning travel to school, in general, and WSBs, in particular, by identifying and discussing six thematic areas of critical importance that explain the decision-making behind potential WSB uptake. These are namely: logistics, safety, trust, health and wellbeing, emotional needs and educational opportunities. Finally, the paper provides policy recommendations about how WSB initiatives can become more effective and attractive mobility tools for local communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)468-487
Number of pages20
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
Early online date9 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


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