2013 - Research

Factors Influencing Mode of Transport in Older Adolescents: A Qualitative Study

Since a decline in activity levels occurs in adolescence, active transport could be important to increase daily physical activity in older adolescents (17–18 years). To promote active transport, it is necessary to be aware of the barriers and facilitators of this type of transport, but also of other transport modes. 

  • This study sought to uncover the factors influencing the choice of transport mode for short distance travel to various destinations in older adolescents using focus groups.
  • Thirty-two focus group volunteers (mean age of 17 ± 1.2 years) were recruited from the two final years of the secondary school in Antwerp (Belgium). Five focus groups were conducted (five to eight participants/group). Content analysis was performed using NVivo 9 software (QSR International). Grounded theory was used to derive categories and subcategories.
  • Data were categorized in three main themes with several subcategories: personal factors (high autonomy, low costs and health), social factors (good social support) and physical environmental factors (short travel time, good access to transport modes and to facilities, good weather, an adapted built environment, perceived safety and ecology).
  • For older adolescents, the interplay between short travel time, high autonomy, good social support, low costs, good access to transport modes and facilities, and good weather was important for choosing active transport over other transport forms for travelling short distances to various destinations. Other well-known factors such as safety, ecology and health seemed not to have a big influence on their transport mode choice.

Dorien Simons1, 2, 3*, Peter Clarys1, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij2, Bas de Geus4, Corneel Vandelanotte5 and Benedicte Deforche1,2. (2013). Factors influencing mode of transport in older adolescents: a qualitative study. BMC Public Health, 13, 323. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-13-323

Authored by: 
Dorien Simons
Peter Clarys1
Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij
Bas de Geus
Corneel Vandelanotte and Benedicte Deforche