Conference Paper

Driven to support: Individual and county-level factors associated with public support for active transportation policies

  • Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health
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Introduction: Active transportation is more likely to occur in settings that support bicycling, walking, and transit with functional site designs that promote safety and accessibility for all users. Assessing support for public policies that promote such settings may inform future planning. Methods: Data were analyzed from 906 U.S. adults responding to a random-digit dialed telephone survey fielded from August to November 2011 in selected counties. County-level characteristics were derived from US Census and national data sources. Associations between individual and county-level characteristics and stated support for five active transportation policies were assessed using multivariable multilevel logistic regression. Results: Respondents supported policies for accommodating bicyclists and pedestrians as street improvements (89%), active school transportation programs (75%), employer-funded active commuting incentives (67%), allocation of public funding (68%), and tax support for building and maintaining public transit (56%). Spending two or more hours per day in a car was associated with increased odds of supporting street (OR 1.87; CI 1.09-3.22) and transit improvements (OR 1.85; CI 1.24-2.77). Residents in counties with higher household car ownership were less likely to support policies promoting active school transportation (OR 0.97; CI 0.95-1.00) or public transit (OR 0.97; CI 0.95-1.00). Living in a county with more prior investment in bicycle and pedestrian improvements was associated with greater support for transit (OR 1.71; CI 1.04-2.83) and transit tax funding (OR 1.73; CI 1.08-2.75). Conclusion: Support for policies to enable active transport is generally high, but varies according to prior investment, access to local transportation-related amenities, and car use.

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