This is among the first studies to provide empirical evidence on active school travel rates and determinants before and after the first Covid-19 lockdown in spring 2020. We have collected and analyzed primary survey data on the school travel patterns of 472 school-age children in Hanoi, Vietnam. The findings show that the Covid-19 pandemic has been quite detrimental: once schools reopened, the prevalence of active school travel decreased from 53% to less than 31%. Where parents, especially mothers, did not face barriers to motorized travel, they assumed the role of chauffeur. Parents who were more concerned about community infections were more motivated to shift children to motorized modes. Walking was more affected than cycling because it was seen as more likely to lead to physical contact and virus transmission. Active school travel dropped more steeply in urban districts (as opposed to poorer, non-urban districts) and in those areas where home-school distances were the largest. It appears that the most common perceptions around barriers to active school travel have been exacerbated during the pandemic as parents and children adapt to “the new normal”.
Title: The impact of Covid-19 on children’s active travel to school in Vietnam
Authors: Minh Hieu Nguyen, Dorina Pojani, Thanh Chuong Nguyen, Thanh Tung Ha
Publication: Journal of Transport Geography