The role of socio-economic and environmental characteristics in school-commuting behavior: A comparative study of Jewish and Arab children in Israel

Wafa Elias, Rachel Katoshevski-Cavari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


School travel contributes to most of today's envisaged transport problems. However the literature dealing with school travel is limited. Hence, a study of school-travel patterns can generate many important insights that may impact transport-system policy and management. This paper focuses on school-commuting patterns and related perceptions of schoolchildren's parents among the Jewish and Arab populations of Israel. The study aims at understanding the commuting behavior of these children, ages 9-15. It examines the relationship between gender and socio-economic characteristics in the commuting behavior of Jewish and Arab schoolchildren. The basic hypothesis is that there are differences in school commuting patterns because of various differences between these two groups. The study is based on a questionnaire administered to 1755 students from various cities and villages in Israel and their parents. Descriptive statistic and multinomial logit model were used to study the differences in travel behavior within two population groups. The results show differences in school-travel patterns between Jewish and Arab schoolchildren. Age, gender, car availability, and parents work status were found to impact their travel behavior, including walking time to school. The differences appear in morning commuting behavior, commuting mode used by boys and by girls, and their preferred mode. For both population groups, the older the child and the fewer private automobiles in the household, the more likely it is that they will walk to school as opposed to being driven by car. Arab children with employed mothers were more likely to be driven to school than to commute by school bus or on foot, whereas no significant impact was found among the Jewish children having working mothers. In addition, the results indicated also that there are differences in parental behavioral patterns and perceptions concerning their children's mode of arriving to school, aspects that should be taken into account when dealing with planning policies which aim to increase children walking. The results of the study provide insights into policies and campaigns that may help to promote walking and bicycling and generate the development of healthier and greener travel behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-87
Number of pages9
JournalTransport Policy
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Activity patterns
  • School commuting
  • Travel behavior
  • Urban planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation


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