School commuting: the relationship between energy consumption and urban form

Anne-Françoise Marique, Sébastien Dujardin, Jacques Teller, Sigrid Reiter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A large amount of research in the past has focused on the relationships between the energy consumption for home-to-work travel and land-use patterns. However, little is known about children’s mobility. This paper analyses the energy consumption, travel distances and mode choices for school commuting based on two decennial surveys in Belgium. The results highlight the following: (1) mobility behaviours have evolved drastically over the past decades for school commuting, an evolution that cannot be entirely related to land-use variables, (2) the energy consumption for school commuting is strongly dependent upon the school level, and (3) the links between land-use patterns and energy consumption for school commuting are different than those highlighted within the literature between urban forms and home-to-work commutes. The concentration of secondary schools and tertiary institutions in urban centres induces higher energy consumption rates, whereas the decentralisation of nursery and primary schools across the entire territory leads to very low local energy consumption and increased walking and cycling. These results provide a better understanding of school commuting within the European context and could guide future policies focused on transport energy consumption at the local scale.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Transport Geography
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

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