Children in a Rail-Based Developed Area of Japan: Travel Patterns, Independence, and Exercise

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

land use - transit oriented development, land use - urban density, mode - rail, mode - mass transit, mode - subway/metro


Weekdays, Travel time, Travel behavior, Transportation policy, Transit oriented development, Transit, Sunday, Social factors, Public transit, Population density, Play, Overweight persons, Osaka (Japan), Obesity, Nonmotorized transportation, Mode share, Modal split, Metropolitan areas, Mass transit, Local transit, Journey time, Exercise, Conurbations, Children, Child


This paper examines measures of travel behavior and exercise for children in four different levels of population density in the Osaka metropolitan areas of Japan. This area’s built environment reflects principles of transit-oriented development with neighborhoods that have grown around an initial train station, where shops intermix with housing and often cluster around the station. Local trips by adults are often by nonmotorized modes. For children’s travel behavior, this study looked at measures of social cohesion, independent travel, mode splits, and average travel times. The study found positive correlations of population density with both the social cohesion measure and the percentage of independent trips over a day. Negative correlation was observed for travel time. The measures for exercise were the number of times a child participated in running-level activities over a day and how much exercise was gained through nonmotorized travel. Mixed results occurred, with only Sundays having a negative correlation for the running-level activity participation and the correlation for the amount of exercise gained through nonmotorized travel flip-flopping between weekdays and Sundays.