Walking Associated With Public Transit: Moving Toward Increased Physical Activity in the United States

Amy L. Freeland is with the Epidemic Intelligence Service and the National Center for Environmental Health, Healthy Community Design Initiative, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA. Shailendra N. Banerjee is with the Office of Director, National Center for Environmental Health, Emergency and Environmental Health Services, CDC. Andrew L. Dannenberg and Arthur M. Wendel are with the National Center for Environmental Health, Healthy Community Design Initiative, CDC.
American Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 4.55). 01/2013; 103(3). DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300912
Source: PubMed


We assessed changes in transit-associated walking in the United States from 2001 to 2009 and documented their importance to public health.

We examined transit walk times using the National Household Travel Survey, a telephone survey administered by the US Department of Transportation to examine travel behavior in the United States.

People are more likely to transit walk if they are from lower income households, are non-White, and live in large urban areas with access to rail systems. Transit walkers in large urban areas with a rail system were 72% more likely to transit walk 30 minutes or more per day than were those without a rail system. From 2001 to 2009, the estimated number of transit walkers rose from 7.5 million to 9.6 million (a 28% increase); those whose transit-associated walking time was 30 minutes or more increased from approximately 2.6 million to 3.4 million (a 31% increase).

Transit walking contributes to meeting physical activity recommendations. Study results may contribute to transportation-related health impact assessment studies evaluating the impact of proposed transit systems on physical activity, potentially influencing transportation planning decisions.

8 Reads
  • Source
    • "New infrastructure could contribute to an increase in active travel, either by inducing additional walking or cycling trips or by shifting existing trips to these modes of travel. Improving public transport could also help achieve this, because public transport use is associated with higher levels of active travel (Rissell et al., 2012; Freeland et al., 2013; Lachapelle and Noland, 2012; Besser and Dannenberg, 2005). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: New transport infrastructure may help promote active travel, thereby contributing to increasing overall physical activity and population health gain. In 2011 a guided busway with a path for walking and cycling was opened in Cambridgeshire, UK. This paper investigates the predictors of walking, cycling and bus use on the busway. Cross-sectional analyses of the final questionnaire wave (2012) of the Commuting and Health in Cambridge cohort study following the opening of the busway. Participants were 453 adult commuters who had not moved home or workplace. Busway use was self-reported and proximity calculated using GIS. Separate multivariable logistic regression models were used to assess predictors of walking, cycling and bus use on the busway. Exposure to the intervention (proximity: the negative square root of the distance from home to busway in kilometres) increased the odds of use for cycling (OR 2.18; 95% CI 1.58 to 3.00), bus travel (OR 1.53, 95% CI 1.15 to 2.02) and walking (OR 1.34; 95% CI 1.05 to 1.70). The effect of exposure was strengthened in towns for bus use, and in towns and villages for walking, compared with urban areas. Men were more likely than women to have cycled on the busway, whereas individual socioeconomic characteristics did not predict bus use or walking. New high-quality transport infrastructure attracts users, determined by geographical exposure and spatial contextual factors such as settlement size and availability of parking at work. Future longitudinal analyses will determine effects on overall travel and physical activity behaviour change.
    12/2014; 38(2). DOI:10.1016/j.jth.2014.10.006
  • Source
    • "e l s e v i e r . c o m / l o c a t e / y p m e d income, minority population) experienced more pedestrian crashes (Graham and Glaister, 2003; Loukaitou-Sideris et al., 2007; Noland et al., 2013) and had more active travel (Besser and Dannenberg, 2005; Freeland et al., 2013). The distribution of walkable/bikeable and safe environments is inequitable across neighborhoods with different income statuses and ethnicity compositions (Sallis et al., 2011; Zhu and Lee, 2008). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Objective: The present study investigates the influence of income, ethnicity, and built environmental characteristics on the percentages of workers who walk/bike as well as on pedestrian/cyclist crash rates. Furthermore, income and ethnicity disparities are also explored. Methods: This study chose 162 census tracts in Austin as the unit of analysis. To explore income and ethnicity differences in built environments, this study examined the associations of the poverty rate, the percentage of white population, and the percentage of Hispanic population to each built environmental variable. Path models were applied to examine environmental supports of walking/biking and pedestrian/cyclist safety. Results: Areas with high poverty rates had more biking trips and experienced more cyclist crashes, while areas with a high percentage of white population generated more walking trips and fewer pedestrian crashes. Sidewalk completeness and mixed land uses promoted walking to work but increased the crash risk for pedestrians as well. In terms of biking behaviors, road density and transit stop density both increased biking trips and cyclist crashes. Conclusions: Environmental designs that both encourage walking/biking trips and generate more safety threats should attract more attention from policy makers. Policies should also be more devoted to enhancing the mobility and health for areas with high poverty rates.
    Preventive Medicine 06/2014; 67. DOI:10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.06.028 · 3.09 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Active travel, in particular active commuting, is associated with higher total physical activity [5,6] and physical wellbeing [7] and lower cardiovascular risk [8,9]. Over half of journeys in the UK are made by car [10], modelling suggests that increases in active travel and reductions in motor vehicle use would have public health benefits [11], and promoting the use of public transport can facilitate walking [12,13] and cycling [14]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Media content can increase awareness of, and shape interactions with, public health interventions. As part of a natural experimental evaluation of the travel, physical activity and health impacts of the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway, we analysed print and social media discourse and interview data to understand the nature of new transport infrastructure and how it was experienced. Methods Newspaper articles were systematically retrieved from the LexisNexis database and tweets were identified from an online archive. Interviews were conducted as part of the larger evaluation study with 38 adults. Inductive thematic analysis was performed and comparisons were drawn between datasets. Results The findings are discussed in relation to five themes. First, an understanding of the intervention context and how the intervention was experienced was developed through accounts of events occurring pre and post the busway’s opening. Second, the media captured the dynamic nature of the intervention. Third, the media constructed idealised portrayals of the anticipated busway which in some cases were contradicted by the impact of the busway on the existing context and people’s lived experiences. Fourth, differential media coverage of the intervention components suggested that a lesser value was placed on promoting active travel compared with public transport. Lastly, interview data provided support for the hypothesis that the media increased awareness of the busway and served as a frame of reference for constructing expectations and comparing experiences. Conclusions This analysis has contributed to the wider evaluation of the busway, helping to understand its nature and implementation and informing hypotheses about how the local population interact with the infrastructure by attending to the significance of representations in the media.
    BMC Public Health 05/2014; 14(1):482. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-14-482 · 2.26 Impact Factor
Show more