Transport and Wellbeing

Many children are increasingly spending their free time indoors and under supervision instead of moving independently outdoors. This is reflected in a decline in active forms of mobility (walking, biking/scootering) on school and recreational routes. Reversing these trends requires deeper insights into mechanisms of behavior change, perceptions of the built environment, mobility-related choices, and the impact on children's well-being.

The TRA:WELL project investigates how active and independent mobility of children and youth is related to well-being and is conducted in collaboration with three schools. In the 1st part, a survey is conducted using questionnaires and fitness trackers. The 2nd part deals, among other things, with the investigation of motives and attitudes underlying mobility-related decisions. At the interface of quantitative and qualitative methods, students aged 10-14 years (further) develop methods and instruments for this purpose in workshops, which enable the recording of the complex topic of attitudes, behavior (mobility, movement), well-being and freedom of decision in the mobility context for the target group of children (e.g. activity diary, Q-Sort). The developed instruments will be partially tested with students not directly involved in the project. In the 3rd part, the subjective perception of the traffic space will be analyzed. Under the guidance of trainers in traffic psychology and pedagogy, a catalog of criteria for a safe design of the traffic area will be developed. The identified factors serve as a basis for the construction of virtual environments, which can be experienced in a laboratory. Reactions to scenarios will be measured and analyzed in terms of perception of safety, comfort, etc.

From a scientific point of view, valuable data and methods are generated. The results show how mobility behavior and subjective well-being are related and what contribution active forms of mobility make to the fulfillment of physical activity recommendations. Furthermore, the results shed light on important arguments in the context of child-friendly mobility for parents and decision-makers and provide in-depth insight into the child's perspective. Through the transdisciplinary approach, the project contributes to the intersectoral cooperation of transport/mobility and health. Output for the education sector is a teaching unit developed with teachers.
(Photocredit © iStock/LeManna)