FREERIDE – Are there free tickets? Children’s independence and equality in mobility and physical activity following a free bus ride experiment in the city of Mikkeli

Project description

Children’s habitual physical activity and independent mobility have decreased over previous decades. Improved access of public transport has been shown increasing physical activity and health in adults, but such evidence, including no information on the potential mechanisms, is scarce and inconsistent in children. The city of Mikkeli has provided free public transport to all primary and secondary school students. Our aim is to study how free public transport affects children’s objectively measured physical activity and independent mobility. This study uses a novel combination of research methodology (combination of ethnography, PPGIS and objectively measured physical activity) to study how a political action (free public transport for children) can impact children’s physical activity, therefore providing highly relevant information for political decision-making and for promoting equality for independent physical activity inchildren.

Research themes

Child and age-friendly environments

Participatory planning

Justice and sustainability

Project details

  • Start date:
    September 1, 2019
  • End date:
    December 31, 2022
  • Location:
    Mikkeli and Kouvola, Finland
  • Funded by:
    Finnish Ministry of Culture and Education
  • Objectives:
    Our aim is to study how free public transport affects children’s objectively measured physical activity and independent mobility.

Project contact

Tiina Rinne

Aalto University

Participating partners

Dr. Arto Pesola (PI of FREERIDE project)

XAMK South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences

Dr. Päivi Berg

XAMK South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences

Pirjo Hakala

XAMK South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences

Related publications

Pesola, A., Berg, P., Hakala, P., Kallio, J. & Laatikainen, T.E (2020). Maksuton joukkoliikenne: Uhka vai mahdollisuus lasten liikkumisessa? Liikunta & Tiede, 57 (4), 37–41.

Pesola, A. J., Hakala, P., Berg, P., Ramezani, S., Villanueva, K., Tuuva-Hongisto, S., Ronkainen, J., & Laatikainen, T. E. (2020). Does free public transit increase physical activity and independent mobility in children? Study protocol for comparing children’s activity between two Finnish towns with and without free public transit. BMC Public Health, 20(1), 1-10. doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-8385-6

Participatory Mapping Institute
Copyright 2020