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A systematic review of interventions for promoting active transportation to school

Palma Chillón13*, Kelly R Evenson23, Amber Vaughn3 and Dianne S Ward34

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Physical Education and Sport, University of Granada, Spain

2 Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, USA

3 Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, USA

4 Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, USA

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2011, 8:10  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-8-10

Published: 14 February 2011



Active transportation to school is an important contributor to the total physical activity of children and adolescents. However, active school travel has declined over time, and interventions are needed to reverse this trend. The purpose of this paper is to review intervention studies related to active school transportation to guide future intervention research.


A systematic review was conducted to identify intervention studies of active transportation to school published in the scientific literature through January 2010. Five electronic databases and a manual search were conducted. Detailed information was extracted, including a quantitative assessment comparing the effect sizes, and a qualitative assessment using an established evaluation tool.


We identified 14 interventions that focused on active transportation to school. These interventions mainly focused on primary school children in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Almost all the interventions used quasi-experimental designs (10/14), and most of the interventions reported a small effect size on active transportation (6/14).


More research with higher quality study designs and measures should be conducted to further evaluate interventions and to determine the most successful strategies for increasing active transportation to school.