Associations of mode of travel to work with physical activity, and individual, interpersonal, organisational, and environmental characteristics.
ABSTRACT: Encouraging walking during the daily commute is a potential strategy for increasing physical activity levels. This study aimed: (i) to examine, and compare by travel mode, the objectively measured physical activity of a working adult population, and, (ii) to identify associations between mode of travel to work and a range of individual, interpersonal, organisational and environmental characteristics.Employees (n=654) recruited from 87 workplaces in geographically distinct areas provided data through accelerometers, Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, travel diaries and questionnaires. Separate multivariable logistic regression models were developed to examine factors associated with physical activity during the commute and mode of travel to work.In comparison to car users (7.3?minutes±Standard Deviation 7.6), walkers (34.3±18.6) and public transport users (25.7±14.0) accrued substantially higher levels of daily moderate to vigorous physical activity during the commute. Combined accelerometer and GPS data showed that participants who walked at least ten minutes during their commute were more likely to have a shorter commute distance (p<0.001), occupy a sedentary job (p<0.01), and be classified as 'underweight or normal weight' (p<0.03). No car access (p<0.001), and absence of free work car parking (p<0.01) were independently related to walking to work and using public transport. Shorter commuting distances were also related to walking to work (p<0.001). Public transport users were more likely to be younger (p=0.04), have more positive environmental perceptions (p=0.01), and less likely to combine their commute with caring responsibilities (p=0.03).This study shows that walking to work and using public transport are important contributors to physical activity levels in a working population. Planning, transport and behavioural interventions to promote walking during the commute should take into account the wider determinants. Reducing availability of free work car parking is one possible strategy to discourage car use.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The use of private motor vehicles places a considerable burden on public health. Changes in workplace car parking policies may be effective in shifting behaviour. We use a natural experimental design to assess whether changes in policy were associated with differences in commute mode. METHODS:We used cohort data from participants working in Cambridge (2009-2012). Commuters reported their trips and travel modes to work over the last week, workplace car parking policy and socioeconomic, environmental and health characteristics. Changes in policy were defined between phases (1608 transition periods; 884 participants). Using generalised estimating equations, we estimated associations between changes in parking policy and the proportion of trips that (i) were exclusively by motor vehicle, (ii) involved walking or cycling and (iii) involved public transport at follow-up. RESULTS:25.1% of trips were made by motor vehicle, 54.6% involved walking or cycling and 11.7% involved public transport. The introduction of free or paid workplace parking was associated with higher proportions of motor vehicle trips (11.4%, 95% CI (6.4 to 16.3)) and lower proportions involving walking or cycling (-13.3%, 95% CI (-20.2 to -6.4)) and public transport (-5.8%, 95% CI (-10.6 to -0.9)) compared with those with no workplace parking. Restrictive changes in policy were associated with shifts in the expected direction but these were not statistically significant. CONCLUSION:Relaxation of parking policy was associated with higher proportions of trips made by motor vehicle. Further longitudinal and intervention research is required to assess generalisability of these findings.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The role of workplaces in promoting active travel (walking, cycling or using public transport) is relatively unexplored. This study explores the potential for workplaces to reduce employees' driving to work in order to inform the development of workplace interventions for promoting active travel. METHODS: An analysis of a cross-sectional survey was conducted using data from parents/guardians whose children participated in the Central Sydney Walk to School Program in inner-west Sydney, Australia. A total of 888 parents/guardians who were employed and worked outside home were included in this analysis. The role of the workplace in regards to active travel was assessed by asking the respondents' level of agreement to eight statements including workplace encouragement of active travel, flexible working hours, public transport availability, convenient parking, shower and change rooms for employees and whether they lived or worked in a safe place. Self-reported main mode of journey to work and demographic data were collected through a self-administrated survey. Binary logistic regression modelling was used to ascertain independent predictors of driving to work. RESULTS: Sixty nine per cent of respondents travelled to work by car, and 19% agreed with the statement, "My workplace encourages its employees to go to and from work by public transport, cycling and/or walking (active travel)." The survey respondents with a workplace encouraging active travel to work were significantly less likely to drive to work (49%) than those without this encouragement (73%) with an adjusted odds ratio (AOR) of 0.41 (95% CI 0.23-0.73, P = 0.002). Having convenient public transport close to the workplace or home was also an important factor that could discourage employees from driving to work with AOR 0.17 (95% CI 0.09-0.31, P < 0.0001) and AOR 0.50 (95% CI 0.28-0.90, P = 0.02) respectively. In contrast, convenient parking near the workplace significantly increased the likelihood of respondents driving to work (AOR 4.6, 95% CI 2.8-7.4, P < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: There is a significant inverse association between the perception of workplace encouragement for active travel and driving to work. Increases in the number of workplaces that encourage their employees to commute to work via active travel could potentially lead to fewer employees driving to work. In order to make active travel more appealing than driving to work, workplace interventions should consider developing supportive workplace policies and environments.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Street imagery is a promising and growing big data source providing current and historical images in more than 100 countries. Studies have reported using this data to audit road infrastructure and other built environment features. Here we explore a novel application, using Google Street View (GSV) to predict travel patterns at the city level. METHODS:We sampled 34 cities in Great Britain. In each city, we accessed 2000 GSV images from 1000 random locations. We selected archived images from time periods overlapping with the 2011 Census and the 2011-2013 Active People Survey (APS). We manually annotated the images into seven categories of road users. We developed regression models with the counts of images of road users as predictors. The outcomes included Census-reported commute shares of four modes (combined walking plus public transport, cycling, motorcycle, and car), as well as APS-reported past-month participation in walking and cycling. RESULTS:We found high correlations between GSV counts of cyclists ('GSV-cyclists') and cycle commute mode share (r = 0.92)/past-month cycling (r = 0.90). Likewise, GSV-pedestrians was moderately correlated with past-month walking for transport (r = 0.46), GSV-motorcycles was moderately correlated with commute share of motorcycles (r = 0.44), and GSV-buses was highly correlated with commute share of walking plus public transport (r = 0.81). GSV-car was not correlated with car commute mode share (r = -0.12). However, in multivariable regression models, all outcomes were predicted well, except past-month walking. The prediction performance was measured using cross-validation analyses. GSV-buses and GSV-cyclists are the strongest predictors for most outcomes. CONCLUSIONS:GSV images are a promising new big data source to predict urban mobility patterns. Predictive power was the greatest for those modes that varied the most (cycle and bus). With its ability to identify mode of travel and capture street activity often excluded in routinely carried out surveys, GSV has the potential to be complementary to new and traditional data. With half the world's population covered by street imagery, and with up to 10 years historical data available in GSV, further testing across multiple settings is warranted both for cross-sectional and longitudinal assessments.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To assess the predictors of uptake and maintenance of walking and cycling, and of switching to the car as the usual mode of travel, for commuting. METHODS:655 commuters in Cambridge, UK reported all commuting trips using a seven-day recall instrument in 2009 and 2010. Individual and household characteristics, psychological measures relating to car use and environmental conditions on the route to work were self-reported in 2009. Objective environmental characteristics were assessed using Geographical Information Systems. Associations between uptake and maintenance of commuting behaviours and potential predictors were modelled using multivariable logistic regression. RESULTS:Mean within-participant changes in commuting were relatively small (walking: +3.0 min/week, s.d.=66.7; cycling: -5.3 min/week, s.d.=74.7). Self-reported and objectively-assessed convenience of public transport predicted uptake of walking and cycling respectively, while convenient cycle routes predicted uptake of cycling and a pleasant route predicted maintenance of walking. A lack of free workplace parking predicted uptake of walking and alternatives to the car. Less favourable attitudes towards car use predicted continued use of alternatives to the car. CONCLUSIONS:Improving the convenience of walking, cycling and public transport and limiting the availability of workplace car parking may promote uptake and maintenance of active commuting.
Project description:Increasing walking and cycling, and reducing motorised transport, are health and environmental priorities. This paper examines levels and trends in the use of different commute modes in England and Wales, both overall and with respect to small-area deprivation. It also investigates whether commute modal share can serve as a proxy for travel behaviour more generally.23.7 million adult commuters reported their usual main mode of travelling to work in the 2011 census in England and Wales; similar data were available for 1971-2001. Indices of Multiple Deprivation were used to characterise socio-economic patterning. The National Travel Survey (2002-2010) was used to examine correlations between commute modal share and modal share of total travel time. These correlations were calculated across 150 non-overlapping populations defined by region, year band and income.Among commuters in 2011, 67.1% used private motorised transport as their usual main commute mode (-1.8 percentage-point change since 2001); 17.8% used public transport (+1.8% change); 10.9% walked (-0.1% change); and 3.1% cycled (+0.1% change). Walking and, to a marginal extent, cycling were more common among those from deprived areas, but these gradients had flattened over the previous decade to the point of having essentially disappeared for cycling. In the National Travel Survey, commute modal share and total modal share were reasonably highly correlated for private motorised transport (r = 0.94), public transport (r = 0.96), walking (r = 0.88 excluding London) and cycling (r = 0.77).England and Wales remain car-dependent, but the trends are slightly more encouraging. Unlike many health behaviours, it is more common for socio-economically disadvantaged groups to commute using physically active modes. This association is, however, weakening and may soon reverse for cycling. At a population level, commute modal share provides a reasonable proxy for broader travel patterns, enhancing the value of the census in characterising background trends and evaluating interventions.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Interventions to encourage active modes of travel (walking, cycling) may improve physical activity levels, but longitudinal evidence is limited and major change in the built environment / travel infrastructure may be needed. East Village (the former London 2012 Olympic Games Athletes Village) has been repurposed on active design principles with improved walkability, open space and public transport and restrictions on residential car parking. We examined the effect of moving to East Village on adult travel patterns.<h4>Methods</h4>One thousand two hundred seventy-eight adults (16+ years) seeking to move into social, intermediate, and market-rent East Village accommodation were recruited in 2013-2015, and followed up after 2 years. Individual objective measures of physical activity using accelerometry (ActiGraph GT3X+) and geographic location using GPS travel recorders (QStarz) were time-matched and a validated algorithm assigned four travel modes (walking, cycling, motorised vehicle, train). We examined change in time spent in different travel modes, using multilevel linear regresssion models adjusting for sex, age group, ethnicity, housing group (fixed effects) and household (random effect), comparing those who had moved to East Village at follow-up with those who did not.<h4>Results</h4>Of 877 adults (69%) followed-up, 578 (66%) provided valid accelerometry and GPS data for at least 1 day (?540?min) at both time points; half had moved to East Village. Despite no overall effects on physical activity levels, sizeable improvements in walkability and access to public transport in East Village resulted in decreased daily vehicle travel (8.3 mins, 95%CI 2.5,14.0), particularly in the intermediate housing group (9.6 mins, 95%CI 2.2,16.9), and increased underground travel (3.9 mins, 95%CI 1.2,6.5), more so in the market-rent group (11.5 mins, 95%CI 4.4,18.6). However, there were no effects on time spent walking or cycling.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Designing walkable neighbourhoods near high quality public transport and restrictions on car usage, may offer a community-wide strategy shift to sustainable transport modes by increasing public transport use, and reducing motor vehicle travel.
Project description:To assess associations between changes in perceptions of the environment en route to work and changes in active commuting.655 commuters in Cambridge, UK reported perceptions of their commuting route and past-week commuting trips in postal questionnaires in 2009 and 2010. Associations between changes in route perceptions and changes in time spent walking and cycling, proportion of car trips, and switching to or from the car on the commute were modelled using multivariable regression.Changes in only a few perceptions were associated with changes in travel behaviour. Commuters who reported that it became less pleasant to walk recorded a 6% (95% CI: 1, 11) net increase in car trips and a 12 min/week (95% CI: -1, -24) net decrease in walking. Increases in the perceived danger of cycling or of crossing the road were also associated with increases in car trips. Increases in the perceived convenience of public transport (OR: 3.31, 95% CI: 1.27, 8.63) or safety of cycling (OR: 3.70, 95% CI: 1.44, 9.50) were associated with taking up alternatives to the car.Interventions to improve the safety of routes and convenience of public transport may help promote active commuting and should be evaluated.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Promoting walking for the journey to and from work (commuter walking) is a potential strategy for increasing physical activity. Understanding the factors influencing commuter walking is important for identifying target groups and designing effective interventions. This study aimed to examine individual, employment-related and psychosocial factors associated with commuter walking and to discuss the implications for targeting and future design of interventions.<h4>Methods</h4>1,544 employees completed a baseline survey as part of the 'Walking Works' intervention project (33.4% male; 36.3% aged <30 years). Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the associations of individual (age, ethnic group, educational qualifications, number of children <16 and car ownership), employment-related (distance lived from work, free car parking at work, working hours, working pattern and occupation) and psychosocial factors (perceived behavioural control, intention, social norms and social support from work colleagues) with commuter walking.<h4>Results</h4>Almost half of respondents (n = 587, 49%) were classified as commuter walkers. Those who were aged <30 years, did not have a car, had no free car parking at work, were confident of including some walking or intended to walk to or from work on a regular basis, and had support from colleagues for walking were more likely to be commuter walkers. Those who perceived they lived too far away from work to walk, thought walking was less convenient than using a car for commuting, did not have time to walk, needed a car for work or had always travelled the same way were less likely to be commuter walkers.<h4>Conclusions</h4>A number of individual, employment-related and psychosocial factors were associated with commuter walking. Target groups for interventions to promote walking to and from work may include those in older age groups and those who own or have access to a car. Multi-level interventions targeting individual level behaviour change, social support within the workplace and organisational level travel policies may be required in order to promote commuter walking.
Project description:This study examines the effects of season and weather on mood (valence and activation) and travel satisfaction (measured by the Satisfaction with Travel Scale). Analyses are presented of 562 time-sampled morning commutes to work made by 363 randomly sampled people in three different Swedish cities asking them to use smartphones to report their mood in their home before and directly after the commutes. These reports as well as satisfaction with the commute obtained in summer and winter are linked to weather data and analyzed by means of fixed-effects regression analyses. The results reveal main effects of weather (temperature and precipitation) on mood and travel satisfaction (temperature, sunshine, precipitation, and wind speed). The effects of weather on mood and travel satisfaction differ depending on travel mode. Temperature leads to a more positive mood, wind leads to higher activation for public transport users, and sunshine leads to a more negative mood for cyclists and pedestrians. Sunshine and higher temperatures make travel more relaxed although not for cycling and walking, and rain and snow lead to a higher cognitive assessed quality of travel.
Project description:The promotion of active travel (walking and cycling) is one promising approach to prevent the development of obesity and related cardio-metabolic disease. However the associations between active travel and adiposity remain uncertain. We used the Fenland study (a population based-cohort study; Cambridgeshire, UK, 2005-15) to describe the association of commuting means with DEXA measured body fat and visceral adipose tissue (VAT) among commuters (aged 29-65years; n=7680). We stratified our sample into those living near (within five miles) and far (five miles or further) from work, and categorised commuting means differently for each group reflecting their different travel options. Associations were adjusted for age, education, Mediterranean diet score, smoking, alcohol consumption, test site and either self-reported physical activity or objective physical activity. Among those living near to work, people who reported regularly cycling to work had lower body fat than those who only used the car (adjusting for self-reported physical activity: women, -1.74%, 95% CI: -2.27% to -0.76%; men, -1.30%, -2.26% to -0.33%). Among those who lived far from work, people who reported regular car-use with active travel had lower body fat (women; -1.18%, 95% CI: -2.23% to -0.13%; men, -1.19%, -1.93% to -0.44%). Findings were similar for VAT and when adjusting for objectively measured physical activity instead of self-reported physical activity. In conclusion, active commuting may reduce adiposity and help prevent related cardio-metabolic disease. If people live too far from work to walk or cycle the whole journey, incorporating some active travel within the commute is also beneficial.