Validity and Reliability of a School Travel Survey

Dept of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, USA.
Journal of physical activity & health (Impact Factor: 1.95). 02/2008; 5 Suppl 1(1):S1-15.
Source: PubMed


Despite the growing interest in active (ie, nonmotorized) travel to and from school, few studies have explored the measurement properties to assess active travel. We evaluated the criterion validity and test-retest reliability of a questionnaire with a sample of young schoolchildren to assess travel to and from school, including mode, travel companion, and destination after school.
To assess test-retest reliability, 54 children age 8 to 11 years completed a travel survey on 2 consecutive school days. To assess criterion validity, 28 children age 8 to 10 years and their parents completed a travel survey on 5 consecutive weekdays.
Test-retest reliability of all questions indicated substantial agreement. The questions on mode of transport, where you will go after school, and how you will get there also displayed substantial agreement between parental and child reports.
For this population, a questionnaire completed by school-age children to assess travel to and from school, including mode, travel companion, and destination after school, was reliably collected and indicated validity for most items when compared with parental reports.

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    • "Fifth, the reliability and validity of the travel mode questions was not assessed. However, previous research suggests that similar questions have high test-retest reliability and convergent validity between child and parent reports [50,51]. Furthermore, three studies have examined the test-retest reliability of school travel time questions among children of this age, and they all reported high coefficients (ICC ranging from 0.70 to 0.94), indicating that children can provide reliable estimates [52-54]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Active school transport (AST) is an important source of children’s daily physical activity (PA). However, decreasing rates of AST have been reported in multiple countries during the last decades. The purpose of the present study was to examine the socio-demographic and school-level correlates of AST. Methods A stratified sample of children (N = 567, mean age = 10.0 years; 57.8% female) was recruited in the Ottawa area. Four sources of data were used for analyses: 1) child questionnaire including questions on school travel mode and time; 2) parent questionnaire providing information on household socio-demographic characteristics; 3) school administrator survey assessing school policies and practices pertaining to PA; and 4) school site audit performed by the study team. Generalized linear mixed models were used to identify socio-demographic and school-level correlates of AST while controlling for school clustering. Results Individual factors associated with higher odds of AST were male gender (OR = 1.99; 95% CI = 1.30-3.03), journey time <5 minutes vs. >15 minutes (OR = 2.26; 95% CI = 1.17-4.37), and 5–15 minutes vs. >15 minutes (OR = 2.27; 95% CI = 1.27-4.03). Children were more likely to engage in AST if school administrators reported that crossing guards were employed (OR = 2.29; 95% CI = 1.22-4.30), or if they expressed major or moderate concerns about crime in the school neighbourhood (OR = 3.34; 95% CI = 1.34-8.32). In schools that identified safe routes to school and where traffic calming measures were observed, children were much more likely to engage in AST compared to schools without these features (OR = 7.87; 95% CI = 2.85-21.76). Moreover, if only one of these features was present, this was not associated with an increased likelihood of AST. Conclusion These findings suggest that providing crossing guards may facilitate AST. Additionally, there was a synergy between the identification of safe routes to school and the presence of traffic calming measures, suggesting that these strategies should be used in combination.
    BMC Public Health 05/2014; 14(1):497. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-14-497 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    • "Use of active school transportation was assessed using a travel recall instrument with acceptable reliability and validity evidence [17]. Travel recalls asked children to report how often they used various modes of travel to get to and from school during the previous week, including: walking, riding a bike, riding a car or riding a bus. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Promoting daily routine physical activities, such as active travel to school, may have important health implications. Practitioners and policy makers must understand the variety of factors that influence whether or not a child uses active school travel. Several reviews have identified both inhibitors and promoters of active school travel, but few studies have combined these putative characteristics in one analysis. The purpose of this study is to examine associations between elementary school children’s active school travel and variables hypothesized as correlates (demographics, physical environment, perceived barriers and norms). Methods The current project uses the dataset from the National Evaluation of Walk to School (WTS) Project, which includes data from 4th and 5th grade children and their parents from 18 schools across the US. Measures included monthly child report of mode of school travel during the previous week (n = 10,809) and perceived barriers and social norms around active school travel by parents (n = 1,007) and children (n = 1,219). Generalized linear mixed models (GLMM) with log-link functions were used to assess bivariate and multivariate associations between hypothesized correlates and frequency of active school travel, assuming random school effect and controlling for the distance to school. Results The final model showed that the most relevant significant predictors of active school travel were parent’s perceived barriers, specifically child resistance (Estimate = −0.438, p < 0.0001) and safety and weather (Estimate = −0.0245, p < 0.001), as well as the school’s percentage of Hispanic students (Estimate = 0.0059, p < 0.001), after adjusting for distance and including time within school cluster as a random effect. Conclusions Parental concerns may be impacting children’s use of active school travel, and therefore, future interventions to promote active school travel should more actively engage parents and address these concerns. Programs like the Walk to School program, which are organized by the schools and can engage community resources such as public safety officials, could help overcome many of these perceived barriers to active transport.
    International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 05/2014; 11(1):61. DOI:10.1186/1479-5868-11-61 · 4.11 Impact Factor
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    • "Whilst there are published studies assessing the validity and reliability of survey questions assessing travel mode to school [10] [11], a literature search did not identify published studies assessing the validity and reliability of survey questions on travel mode and travel time to work. The purpose of this study was to examine the validity and reliability of a question to assess travel mode over the past week that is commonly used in surveys for developing workplace travel plans [12], as well as a question used to assess travel time. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The purpose of this study was to assess the (previously untested) reliability and validity of survey questions commonly used to assess travel mode and travel time. Methods: Sixty-five respondents from a staff survey of travel behaviour conducted in a south-western Sydney hospital agreed to complete a travel diary for a week, wear an accelerometer over the same period, and twice complete an online travel survey an average of 21 days apart. The agreement in travel modes between the self-reported online survey and travel diary was examined with the kappa statistic. Spearman's correlation coefficient was used to examine agreement of travel time from home to workplace measured between the self-reported online survey and four-day travel diary. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) time of active and nonactive travellers was compared by t-test. Results: There was substantial agreement between travel modes (K = 0.62, P < 0.0001) and a moderate correlation for travel time (ρ = 0.75, P < 0.0001) reported in the travel diary and online survey. There was a high level of agreement for travel mode (K = 0.82, P < 0.0001) and travel time (ρ = 0.83, P < 0.0001) between the two travel surveys. Accelerometer data indicated that for active travellers, 16% of the journey-to-work time is MVPA, compared with 6% for car drivers. Active travellers were significantly more active across the whole workday. Conclusions: The survey question "How did you travel to work this week? If you used more than one transport mode specify the one you used for the longest (distance) portion of your journey" is reliable over 21 days and agrees well with a travel diary.
    Journal of Environmental and Public Health 07/2013; Volume 2013(Article ID 423035). DOI:10.1155/2013/423035
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