Youth Active Travel to School Surveillance Initiative

In 2017, the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) formed a Physical Activity workgroup to foster cross-NCCOR planning and engagement among all partners related to physical activity. The workgroup was formed as a result of a September 2016 NCCOR meeting focused on identifying new physical activity projects.

Step it Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities highlights gaps in surveillance, specifically the absence of an existing national surveillance system that regularly monitors walking behavior, or neighborhood supports for walking in various settings, including schools and communities. The Youth Active Travel to School (ATS) Surveillance Initiative subgroup was formed as a first step in addressing several critical gaps in the surveillance of youth ATS. This project aims to improve public health surveillance of youth ATS across three content areas: Youth ATS behaviors, environmental supports for ATS, and program and policy supports for ATS.

In 2018, NCCOR conducted a literature review to describe the existing surveillance of youth ATS and identify measures that have been used to assess ATS. The results will be shared in the coming year.

This subgroup held a virtual workshop in October 2020 to address key challenges related to measurement and surveillance of youth active travel to school and related environmental, policy, and program supports. The workgroup is developing a white paper to summarize the workshop and synthesize recommendations for active travel to school surveillance.