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Health Place. 2010 Jul;16(4):646-55. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2010.01.009. Epub 2010 Feb 12.

Spatial clustering and the temporal mobility of walking school trips in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada.

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  • 1Department of Geography and Program in Planning, University of Toronto, 100 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S3G3, Canada.


Interest in utilitarian sources of physical activity, such as walking to school, has emerged in response to the increased prevalence of sedentary behavior in children and youth. Public health practitioners and urban planners need to be able to survey and monitor walking practices in space and time, with a view to developing appropriate interventions. This study explored the prevalence of walking to and from school of 11-13 year olds in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Canada. The Getis-Ord (G(i)(*)) local spatial statistic, Markov transition matrices, and logistic regressions were used to examine the spatial clustering of walking trips in the study area, and to document any temporal drift of places in and out of walking clusters. Findings demonstrate that walking tends to cluster within the urban and inner-suburban GTA, and in areas with low household income. Temporally persistent cluster membership was less likely within inner-suburban and outer-suburban places. The evidence suggests that interventions to increase active school transportation need to acknowledge spatial and temporal differences in walking behavior.

2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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