Policies and practices that promote children’s independent mobility

All authors:
Whitzman, C.
Host organisation: CoE Melbourne, Australia
Publication year: 2008
Published in:
Urban Planning International, Vol. 23 (5), 56—61.
Research theme: Policy and Planning
Research article

Children's independent mobility means the freedom of those under 18 to move around in public space without adult accompaniment. In Australia and internationally,children's independent mobility has been greatly restricted over the past 30 years.Two primary sets of reasons have been hypothesized:planning and design considerations such as lower densities,less land use mix,bigger roads and more car traffic;and social considerations such as increased concerns around traffic and stranger danger.

The negative impacts of restricting children's independent mobility include limiting children's physical and social development in terms of knowledge and mastery of the neighbourhood environment and increased dependence on cars.

Paradoxically,the more people choose to put their children in cars,the less safe it is,in terms of both traffic safety and stranger danger.Increasing children's independent mobility would require both allaying parental fears about traffic and stranger danger,and creating physical environments that encourage children's right to walk safely on their own.Alter providing a general overview of the problem, this paper will focus on a Melbourne-area case study of specific social and physical environment improvements arising from considering children's independent mobility.

May 2019
Upcoming Events
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
v18      1 2 3 4 5
v19  6 7 8 9 10 11 12
v20  13 14 15 16 17 18 19
v21  20 21 22 23 24 25 26
v22  27 28 29 30 31    


The Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT) and the VREF are launching the Young Leaders in Sustainable Transport programme.

Call open until 2019-05-20


The VREF invites PhD students and researchers in early stages of their career to apply for a Study Visit Grant to be supported with up to SEK 30 000.

Invitation open until 2019-10-31

Blog! Blog! Blog!

Global Mobility Research

This Meeting of the Minds' blog monthly releases interviews of global transportation researchers from the VREF's Future Urban Transport Program Network.


This CityFix series, produced by the WRI (World Ressources Institute) Ross Center for Sustainable Cities and supported by the VREF, discusses walking and cycling in cities with a special focus on low- and middle-income countries.

Each year the Håkan Frisinger Foundation for Transportation Research awards a scholarship to a prominent researcher.


About VREF

The Volvo Research and Educational Foundations (VREF) inspires, initiates and supports research and educational activities through the Future Urban Transport Programme - How to deal with the complexity of urban transport (FUT). 

Our Vision: Sustainable transport for equitable access in urban areas

Read more

© Copyright VREF