Publication Detail

Bicycling and Spatial Knowledge in Children: An Exploratory Study in Davis, California

UCD-ITS-RP-11-106

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Suggested Citation:
Handy, Susan L. and Rachel Maiss (2011) Bicycling and Spatial Knowledge in Children: An Exploratory Study in Davis, California. Children, Youth and Environments 21 (2), 100 - 117

This paper presents results from a study that examines the relationship between travel mode choice and geographic knowledge among third graders in Davis, California. Using methods that include personal interviews and mental mapping, the study explores whether children who primarily use active modes of travel (specifically bicycling) have a different spatial understanding of the community than their peers who rely on passive travel modes (e.g., riding in cars with adults). The findings suggest that children with more bicycling experience are able to recall more details of their community than those with less bicycling experience. Further, the extensive bikers may progress to higher stages of spatial development at a younger age than their peers with less bicycling experience. With this study, we hope to provide community leaders with a broader understanding of the implications of encouraging active travel among children.