Transit and Health: Mode of Transport, Employer-Sponsored Public Transit Pass Programs, and Physical Activity

School of Community & Regional Planning, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Journal of Public Health Policy (Impact Factor: 1.78). 01/2009; 30 Suppl 1:S73-94. DOI: 10.1057/jphp.2008.52
Source: PubMed


Increased provision of transit service and policy incentives that favor transit use can support a physically active lifestyle. We used the smartraq travel survey in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia (in 2001-2002) to assess whether transit and car trips were associated with meeting the recommended levels of physical activity by using walking as a means of transportation. Additionally, we assessed associations between walking and using an employer-sponsored public transit pass. We controlled for demographics, neighborhood density, presence of services near workplaces, distance from home to transit, and car availability in our sample of 4,156 completed surveys. Walking distances from origin to destination were derived by a geographical information system and categorized as: no walking, moderate walking, or meeting recommendation (walking>or=2.4 km (1.5 miles) a day, approximately>or=30 min). In a multinomial logistic regression controlling for other covariates, transit trips were associated with an odds ratio (OR) of 3.87 (confidence interval (CI) 95%, 2.93-5.11) of meeting recommendation. In a multinominal logistical regression controlling for other covariates, transit users were associated with meeting recommendation, OR 2.23 (CI 95%, 1.27-3.90).

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Available from: Lawrence D Frank, Aug 20, 2014
    • "For transit users, walking to public transit can contribute to active transportation time (Besser and Dannenberg 2005; Saelens et al. 2014). Greater distance to public transit has been associated with higher probability of meeting physical activity guidelines for transit users (Lachapelle and Frank 2009). In the absence of choice, transit-dependent riders may use transit for a trip even if the distance to transit is prohibitive. "
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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.
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    • "The findings also suggest that shifters made purposeful changes to their lives to support their use of transit to commute to work, by relinquishing their Queen's parking permits and by purchasing an employer-subsidized bus pass in 2014. These findings lend support to previous research that has found that workplace policies play important roles in promoting active commuting and employee health (Lachapelle and Frank, 2009;Brockman and Fox, 2011). In both years, a significantly higher proportion of shifters reported being willing to spend more than 30 minutes on Kingston Transit to get to work, and that the introduction of express transit service increased their use of public transit. "
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    ABSTRACT: Public transit ridership offers valuable opportunities for modest amounts of daily physical activity (PA). Transit is a more feasible option for most Canadian commuters who live too far from work to walk or cycle, yet public transit usage in midsized Canadian cities has historically remained low due to inefficient transit service.The objectives of this longitudinal study were threefold: to assess whether the introduction of express transit service in the low-density city of Kingston, Ontario, has translated to greater transit use among a targeted employee group; to document the characteristics of those employees that have shifted to transit; and to examine the PA levels of employees using transit compared to other commute modes.An online survey was administered in October 2013 and October 2014 to all non-student employees at Queen's University. 1356 employees completed the survey in 2013, and 1123 in 2014; 656 of these employees completed the survey both years, constituting our longitudinal sample.Year-round transit ridership increased from 5.5% in 2013 to 8.5% in 2014 (p < 0.001). Employees who shifted to transit had fewer household-level opportunities to drive to work and more positive attitudes toward transit. Transit commuters accrued an average of 80. minutes/week of commute-related PA, and 50 minutes/week more total PA than those that commuted entirely passively.Kingston Transit's express service has stimulated an increase in transit ridership among one of their target employers, Queen's University. The findings from this study suggest that shifting to transit from entirely passive commuting can generate higher overall PA levels.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015
    • "Public transit can promote PA because riders often use active transportation modes such as walking and biking to access and egress the system (Brown and Werner, 2007). There is evidence that public transit users are more physically active and experience better health outcomes such as healthier body mass indices (BMIs) than non-transit users (Besser and Dannenberg, 2005;Brown and Werner, 2009;Lachapelle and Frank, 2009;Lachapelle et al., 2011;Rissel et al., 2012). Despite evidence that public transit users have higher levels of PA than non-transit users, it is unclear whether public transit generates new PA. "
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    ABSTRACT: Poor health outcomes from insufficient physical activity (PA) are a persistent public health issue. Public transit is often promoted for positive influence on PA. Although there is cross-sectional evidence that transit users have higher PA levels, this may be coincidental or shifted from activities such as recreational walking. We use a quasi-experimental design to test if light rail transit (LRT) generated new PA in a neighborhood of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. Participants (n=536) wore Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers and accelerometers before (2012) and after (2013) LRT construction. We test within-person differences in individuals' PA time based on changes in transit usage pre- versus post-intervention. We map transit-related PA to detect spatial clustering of PA around the new transit stops. We analyze within-person differences in PA time based on daily transit use and estimate the effect of daily transit use on PA time controlling for socio-demographic variables. Results suggest that transit use directly generates new PA that is not shifted from other PA. This supports the public health benefits from new high quality public transit such as LRT. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Health & Place
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