Article Text

YOUNG PEOPLE’S INDEPENDENT MOBILITY AND SAFETY IN NEIGHBOURHOODS WITH VARIOUS SOCIOECONOMIC STRUCTURES
  1. M Hasselberg1,
  2. L Laflamme1
  1. 1Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract

Objective This study analyses the relationships between the socioeconomic status of children’s neighbourhood, safety and independent mobility. The local neighbourhood is important for children in many ways. It can offer opportunities for play and independent mobility, but also constitutes a hindrance for young people to visit their friends, go to school and travel to recreational activities safely. According to national data from the Swedish National Road Administration as many as two-thirds of children between 6 and 12 years old walk or go by bicycle to school. The extent to which those figures hold true for neighbourhoods with various socioeconomic structures is uncertain.

Methods Schools in greater Stockholm were randomly selected and one class from each school was selected by the headmaster to take part in a school-based survey. A computer-based questionnaire on mobility and safety in the neighbourhood was given to children aged 12–13 years (grade 7, n  =  1008), including aspects related to road traffic exposure both on their way to school and during leisure time. The neighbourhood of each child’s domicile was also characterised based on various socioeconomic indicators, including income level.

Results Preliminary results show variations in terms of traffic exposure as well as independent mobility among young people in different neighbourhoods. The final results, including gender-specific analyses, will be presented at the conference.

Conclusions For safety assessments to be made accurately, it is essential to gather information about the nature and extent of children’s and young people’s movements in the road traffic environment.

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