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New research wants to change the attitude to school transports

Published: 30 September 2021

Outgoing from the research project Active school transports at Luleå University of Technology, now starts a new project with a focus on changing the norms in society regarding school transport.
"By shifting the focus from "unprotected" to "active" road users, we can open up for discussions about the effects on public health if more people are using active transport, as opposed to the risks involved in cycling and walking", says Stina Rutberg, Associate Professor of Physiotherapy.

Together with Anna-Karin Lindqvist, Associate Professor of Physiotherapy, she has been granted funding from Vinnova for the project in connection with the call "Changed travel habits - sustainable mobility - Investigate, develop and test behavior-changing solutions that contribute to climate-neutral and healthy travel habits".
"It is also in line with the university's vision 2030 on socially beneficial research", says Anna-Karin Lindqvist.

Walk or cycle to school

They state that today about half of the children walk or cycle to school. The Active School Transports project wants to increase it to 80 percent.
The research in the project Active school Transports shows that the social norms, ie the common perceptions of what is acceptable in society, are important for parents' decisions.
"There is a risk that we raise half a generation who does not not use active transports as children, which means that they will hardly do it as adults either", says Stina Rutberg.

The children in focus

By putting the children in focus, the researchers hope to be able to influence societal development in the area.
"The Convention on the Rights of the Child states, among other things, that children have the right to be heard in all matters concerning children and that in all decisions concerning children, the best interests of the children shall be taken into account. It is now a team", says Anna-Karin Lindqvist.
She believes that a lot of research on children is done by listening to adults, such as parents and experts of various kinds.
"In this project, we want the children to be involved and influence the development of social norms. Many children want to move, but free mobility has steadily declined in recent decades, despite increased road safety".

Lasts two years

The project is led by Luleå University of Technology and in collaboration with the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, Dalarna University, Luleå Municipality and Vinter communications agency. The project has been granted SEK 3 million and will run for the next two years.