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.

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    • "Active transportation has been identified as an important solution to the current health burden of inactive lifestyles (Sallis et al. 2004; USDHHS 2008). Many public transit users achieve physical activity recommendations solely by walking to and from transit (Besser and Dannenberg 2005; Morency, Trépanier, and Demers 2011; Freeland et al. 2013; Wasfi, Ross, and El-Geneidy 2013; Saelens et al. 2014). Lachapelle and Frank (2009) found that taking transit trips nearly tripled the probability of meeting the physical activity guidelines of at least moderate intensity—150 minutes a week of brisk walking or its equivalent (USDHHS 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: Public transit users are expected to have higher levels of active transportation (AT, walking and bicycling) because they often need to walk to and from transit. Surveys in Baltimore and Seattle (n = 1,622) revealed that transit users performed more AT than nonusers, especially when dependent on transit. Health benefits and impacts of their limited travel options are discussed. Choice transit riders, who use transit and have a car, and dependent transit riders, who are limited to transit use, are compared for differences in AT and leisure physical activity time (LPA). Less LPA is explored as a consequence of the additional AT.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of Planning Education and Research
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    • "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). "
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    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.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014
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    • "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). "
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    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.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Preventive Medicine
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