Why we need to teach kids about multimodal transportation - Mobility Lab

Welcome to our 12 Days of Mobility series, which celebrates the launch of our Transportation Cost-Savings Calculator, a tool that measures the return of investment from transportation demand management (TDM) programs. Click the image to see the entire series.

“You drive right?” was something I texted my friend last week to make sure we would be able to meet up at a café. I didn’t even think about other ways to get there, like walking or biking – my question was just a simple reflection on that I had always driven to this place so therefore my friend was going to drive there, too.

You could attribute this to how driving is often the default mode in the United States, or the people who are shocked when they hear that so-and-so doesn’t have a driver’s license. It can also be linked to neighborhoods where children are banned from playing and biking on streets in the name of safety. (It’s funny then that there are countless articles about how much fewer teens are getting licenses, along with the rest of the population.)

But simply, my driving default might be due to the students’ minimal education on multimodal transportation.

In a study led by Mobility Lab’s research manager Lama Bou Mjahed, researchers found that childhood walking behavior affected adult walking habits. So kids who walked more for transportation tended to walk more as adults – and vice versa.

This means that educating kids on transportation options besides driving and helping kids use those modes matter. If kids can learn and use other transportation options, they might use them as adults.

Arlington, Va. has been a leader in implementing TDM strategies in public schools and shifting commutes that could be reasonably shifted to bussing, walking or biking among staff and students of all ages. Arlington Public Schools is one of the only school districts that employs an in-house TDM coordinator and operates the APS GO! platform that helps each school set up and analyze their particular strategy to shift school commutes away from solo driving. An additional emphasis is placed on staff changing their commutes to serve as role models for students, as well as including transportation in the class curriculum.

Click here to read the full article: https://mobilitylab.org/2018/08/06/why-we-need-to-teach-kids-about-multimodal-transportation/