Boulder County School Travel Study

Understanding the Role of Community-Generated Data in Planning for Equitable Youth and Family Access to Active Transportation Options

Mission of the research

This study aims to understand how people who plan and construct transportation systems can learn more about the ways students and their families travel to and from school. The current information transportation professionals have may not fully represent the needs and experiences of families in all areas throughout Boulder County. Limited information may make it difficult for transportation professionals to create plans, infrastructure, transit services, and programs that meet families’ needs as well as larger transportation goals for the county. One transportation goal common to both Boulder County and area school districts is to support more people to walk, bike, and use shared transport modes. This study asks transportation professionals about the information they use to plan for walking, bicycling, and shared transport. It also asks students and their adult caregivers about how they travel to and from school as part of their overall weekday transportation routines. By doing so, this study aims to understand how transportation professionals and community members can work together toward common goals while supporting more walking, bicycling, and shared transport to and from schools.

Click here to read more about the study

Understanding the Role of Community-Generated Data in Planning for Equitable Youth and Family Access to Active Transportation Options

Young people and families have special transportation needs and demands, and they typically make more trips every day than adults without children at home.[1] In its recent Transportation Master Plan, Boulder County recognizes this fact and calls for analysis of what is missing from current efforts to accommodate the accessibility and mobility needs of families with school-aged children.[2]

Understanding the particular and often complex transportation needs of young people and families is important for promoting human-centered mobility and access strategies, removing barriers, and increasing the capacity of the transportation system to accommodate youth traveling to and from school and other destinations. The current methods for discerning the transportation options and actions of young people and families, however, provide limited data and may lead to limited solutions that may not align with the county’s transportation goals or the needs and values of diverse youth and families. This research project proposes to extend the capacity of the Boulder County Youth Transportation Program to collect community-generated data that may provide more information for active and multi-modal transportation interventions that meet the needs of youth and families. This research will honor the county’s commitment to reaching out to under-served community members and ensuring their voices are heard while testing the feasibility of a new type of community-engaged data collection for ongoing use by county staff and other transportation professionals.

Three inter-related questions guide this research, focusing on school transport data collection methods and resulting solutions: 1) How does the data collected to inform planning for active and multi-modal transportation to school influence the interventions developed? 2) Could planners learn additional information about the needs and capabilities of stakeholders by directly collecting rich spatial and experiential data from underrepresented students and their adult caregivers in different geographic areas around Boulder County? 3) Would this new, intergenerational data collection approach influence innovative active and multi-modal transportation interventions and be a feasible data collection, design, and planning strategy for the ongoing co-creation of safe routes programming and infrastructure changes?

The goal of this research is to learn whether transportation planners, Safe Routes to School program coordinators, and families can benefit from integrating community-generated data into decision-making processes, and, in turn, whether doing so might increase the capacity of youth and adults, whose voices are typically not heard, to become more actively involved in processes that affect their lives. Ultimately, these findings could result in more active travel to school and other destinations by more and more diverse students, resulting in benefits for the students (health and autonomy), their families (time and money), and their communities (congestion and air quality).


[1] Litman, T. (2020). Evaluating accessibility for transport planning: Measuring people’s ability to reach desired goods and activities. Victoria Transport Policy Institute. Retrieved from

[2] Boulder County Transportation. (2020). Boulder County Transportation Master Plan. Longmont, CO: Boulder County.

This study has been approved by the University of Colorado Denver Institutional Review Board - COMIRB Protocol #21-3907

BoCo School Travel Study flyer 2.pdf

How does your family travel before, during and after school?

Share your experiences, challenges, needs, and visions for weekday transportation options in your area.

Receive a $50 Visa gift card for participating!

We are seeking study participants: students ages 9 to 18 who attend public schools in either of Boulder County's two school districts, and their parents or caregivers, are invited to participate in one 2-3-hour, small-group community interview session - in-person or online.

Childcare for younger siblings and food will be provided at in-person sessions. In appreciation for your time and expertise, student and adult participants will each receive $50 Visa gift cards at the end of the session.

See below for upcoming interview sessions!

To sign up for a session near you, or to suggest a potential meeting location, date or time, please contact researcher Darcy Kitching at 720-805-8293 or We are also conducting a few virtual sessions over Zoom.

North BoCo

OPEN, as requested in May

We are able to offer in-person and virtual sessions as requested for up to 4 families who live anywhere in northern Boulder County and who have children ages 9 to 18 who are enrolled in SVVSD public schools.

In-person locations will be determined based on convenience for participants. To register, please contact or 720-805-8293.

Completed small-group interview sessions


Cal-Wood Nature Center, Sunday, December 12, 2021, 9 am-12 pm

Small-group interview session with Lafayette families participating in the Nature Kids/Jovenes de la Naturaleza overnight camp.


Virtual + Boulder County Alaska Avenue Office

January 26 + February 22, 2022

Two small-group interview sessions with Longmont families.


BHP Broadway East Community Center

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Small-group interview session with families living in or near the Broadway East community.

BoCo Virtual


Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Small-group online interview session with families in Boulder and Longmont.


Erie Community Center

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Small-group interview session with families in east Boulder County.


Lafayette Public Library

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Small-group interview session with families in Lafayette.


Teens, INC.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Small-group interview session with families who live in the Nederland area.


San Lazaro Park Properties Community Room

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Small-group interview session with families who live at the San Lazaro Mobile Home Park.


Boulder Public Library

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Small-group interview session with families who live in the City of Boulder.


Lyons Community Library

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Small-group interview session with families who live in the Lyons area.