Understanding Post-secondary Student Mobility and its Impact on Wellbeing
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There are approximately 30,000 Brock University and Niagara College students making their way around Niagara region to attend school, engage in social activities, and contribute to the local economy through their employment and shopping, among many other activities. Unfortunately, however, transportation barriers discourage or prevent many of these students from fully participating in community life. While numerous studies have examined the linkages between transportation and public health, few have been focused specifically on the post-secondary student demographic, including Niagara’s university and college students. Through the application of a mobilities lens, along with The Five Ways to Wellbeing and Determinants of Health frameworks, this study examines the ways in which students’ levels of transportation accessibility impact their levels of mobility and subjective wellbeing. By applying a mixed methods approach, including an online survey and a photovoice project, this study has found that there are geographic-type and person-type barriers that create inequities and, in some cases, exclusions. Geographically, students living in certain Niagara municipalities, or attending certain campuses, have longer and more convoluted trips leading to a lower sense of satisfaction and subjective sense of wellbeing. Person-type barriers are characteristics that are unique to populations of people such as being domestic or international students, gender and having hidden disabilities. Building on Cresswell’s relational moments of mobility and Flamm & Kaufman’s motility, this study exposes the ‘hidden’ power relations that are fundamental to being mobile subjects and, ultimately, students’ subjective wellbeing.