Investigating Youth Commuting to School, Violence Exposure, and School Avoidance

Associate Name: Marc Stein

Funding Source/Period of the Grant: HPC Pilot 02/01/2017 - 02/08/2018


Youth in urban school districtsespecially those with open enrollment policiesuse public transportation to get to school.  Little research has examined this phenomenon to date and the potential for negative student school outcomes such as tardiness and attendance through increased exposure to violence and stress during the commute to school. Technological advances in transportation fare collection, school security, and real-time data collection offer the possibility to observe children as they navigate the urban environment and the transportation system on their way to school. In this pilot study we propose to explore these hypotheses by building from the existing frameworks that link commuting and work outcomes for adults to frameworks that link exposure to violence and student outcomes in order to expand our understanding of student tardiness and absenteeism among urban youth. This pilot study will develop procedures and models for managing and analyzing daily records of time-stamped student transportation data and entry into school with publicly available census and public safety data.  The pilot study will produce a R21 proposal to NICHD to analyze the 2016-17 data and observe how students respond in 2017-18 to a major redesign of Baltimore’s bus system planned for the summer 2017 that will create a natural experiment that will allow us to investigate causally the impact of commuting on multiple domains of student outcomes.


Photo: "Empty classroom, searching for memories" by see you, future is licensed under CC BY 2.0