Parental characteristics among factors influencing family weekend activities

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Family Weekend Activities

Whether a child has an older father or lives with a single father are among important factors affecting how kids spend weekend time, according to a new study conducted by transportation engineers at The University of Texas at Austin.

The study, based on a national survey, was done to reveal how family structure and dynamics influence weekend leisure activity choices. These activities influence travel choices, which in turn can inform cities regarding infrastructure planning for future travel needs.

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"It's becoming clear that children's age and the presence of children have a substantial impact on adult travel patterns," said Professor Chandra Bhat. "If we don't understand the interactions within families and how that is influenced by demographics, we're not going to understand how to forecast travel patterns."

The study focused on families with children between 5 and 15 years of age who participated in the 2002 child development-related survey of the U.S. Panel Study Income Dynamics. Bhat and graduate research assistant Ipek Sener from the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering analyzed the families for time spent in various in-home and out-of-home activities. Which parent spent time with a child on Saturdays and Sundays, parental age and other family characteristics were among the factors considered.

Bhat and Sener present results from the study on 1,574 children today at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C.

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