Bachelor of Environmental Science (Honours)
School of Earth & Environmental Sciences
Toole, Stephanie, Transport choices - to and from Primary Schools in the Sutherland Shire, Bachelor of Environmental Science (Honours), School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong, 2011.
Private motor vehicle use dominates transport behaviours in Australia, even over traditionally short journeys such as the ‘school run’ - the journey travelled to or from school. Such trends toward motor vehicle use in preference to active or public transport are widely recognised for their significant environmental, social and economic consequences. Transport trends within the Sutherland Shire, New South Wales, exhibit high and increasing rates of motor vehicle use. However, little is known about the transport behaviours of Sutherland Shire residents for the school run. This thesis explores the transport behaviours of children and their parents/guardians as they undertake the school run within the Sutherland Shire. It also seeks to explore the factors which influence these transport behaviours, and how perceptions of ‘community’ and environmental knowledge and concerns may influence the modes of transport used for the school run. A self-administered, parental questionnaire was utilised to collect data on transport behaviours and attitudes, whilst a drawing task provided an opportunity for children to express their perceptions of the school run. Data collected within the questionnaire revealed that the majority of journeys to or from school in the Sutherland Shire are made by private motor vehicle, in preference to active or public transport. The key factors influencing these trends include safety concerns, aspects of the physical environment and available infrastructure, as well as practicality or convenience. Investigation into relationships between individuals’ perceptions of ‘community’, environmental concerns and transport behaviours revealed the importance of complex social factors which underlie transport choices, such as the ‘culture of the car’. Understanding the influence of each of these factors is critical when recommending how Sutherland Shire Council may promote the use of more sustainable forms of transport for the school run.