School times impact on students walking or biking to school: safe routes to school

Principal Investigator(s):

Michael Levin, Assistant Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project summary:

Changes in school start times for elementary and secondary schools have resulted in some elementary schools starting before sunrise, which may discourage elementary school children from walking or biking to school. The purpose of this project is to understand 1) changes in travel patterns associated with changes in school start times; 2) parents' perceptions of safety around walking or biking in the dark; and 3) demographic-specific impacts on safety and travel patterns. The project will be based on both stated preference (survey of parents) and revealed preference (StreetLight-reported trips) data collection on multiple school districts with varying start times. Stated preference surveys provide an opportunity for parents to explain reasoning behind their choices, and their level of comfort with walking/biking in the dark. However, participation rates may be low and actual travel choices could be misreported. Revealed preference data measures actual behavior but lacks data on the reasoning for that behavior, and observations may be limited. By combining both stated preference and revealed preference data, researchers hope to holistically understand travel choices while also collecting data explaining those choices.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2024009
  • Start date: 08/2023
  • Project status: Active
  • Research area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Bicycling, Pedestrian, Safety