Globally, around 80% of adolescent worldwide do not meet the World Health Organizations’ (WHO)r recommended activity level. This is unfortunate as physical activity is positive for both physical and mental health and may also increase cognitive performance. To compensate for the low activity level among children and adolescents there have been several initiatives for schoolwide physical activity promotion programs. However, the desire for increased physical activity in school often collide with an emphasis on strengthening basic skills and theoretical subjects. To stimulate active travel (that is to walk or cycle) to and from school can thus be a good way to create a more active life and still contribute to increasing the students’ performance and wellbeing in school. PULSE is a cross disciplinary research project that has two main purposes: 1) increase the physical activity level of youth through active travel 2) investigate the role of active travel in mood and school performance. The project exploits and further develops a novel method for capturing travel behavior data from adolescents using a mobile app (Fotefar). The app automatically captures mode of transport, transport route and travel time and gives more precise measurements of students travel pattern. To stimulate active travel we develop two interventions, one school based, and one gamification based. To capture the change in mood and school performance and connect this to walking and cycling we will further develop existing questionnaires so that they are sensitive enough to capture changes in mood and performance.
Through interdisciplinary collaboration, national and international researchers, content developers, school owners and teachers will work together to provide new insights. The project will develop two interventions to induce active travel among adolescences in lower secondary education. The interventions will be implemented in multiple schools. We will investigate the effectiveness of one of these interventions through randomized controlled trial. The other intervention will be a feasibility study of how to integrate the topic of transportation with the school’s interdisciplinary topics. Through econometric techniques we will provide important policy insights concerning school bus policies and the location of schools on choice of travel mode. Moreover, through quasi-experimental approaches the project will bring new knowledge and improve the understanding of the causal link between active travel and performance and mood, and thus active travel as a tool to promote the quality in lower secondary education.
FINNUT-Forskning og innovasjon i utdanningssektoren