Changes in workplace car parking and commute mode: a natural experimental study.
ABSTRACT: 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: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:Despite strong evidence for health benefits from active travel, levels remain low in many countries. Changes to the physical and social workplace environment might encourage active travel but evaluation has been limited. We explored associations between changes in the physical and social workplace environment and changes in commute mode over one year among 419 participants in the Commuting and Health in Cambridge study. In adjusted analyses, an increase in the presence of one physical characteristic (e.g. bicycle parking or shower facilities) was associated with a 3.3% (95% confidence interval 1.0-5.6) reduction in the proportion of commutes by private motor vehicle and a 4.4% (95% CI 1.2-7.7) increase in the proportion of trips including active modes among men. These associations were not seen in women. A change to a more favourable social environment for walking or cycling among workplace management was associated with an increased proportion of commutes including active modes in women (4.5%, 95% CI 1.4-7.5) but not men. However, in both genders a change to more a favourable social environment for cycling among colleagues was associated with a reduced proportion of commutes by exclusively active modes (-2.8%, 95% CI -5.0 to -0.6). This study provides longitudinal evidence for gender differences in the associations between workplace environment and commute mode. A more supportive physical environment was associated with more active commuting in men, while the social environment appeared to have more complex associations that were stronger among women.
Project description:Parking infrastructure is pervasive and occupies large swaths of land in cities. However, on-demand (OD) mobility has started reducing parking needs in urban areas around the world. This trend is expected to grow significantly with the advent of autonomous driving, which might render on-demand mobility predominant. Recent studies have started looking at expected parking reductions with on-demand mobility, but a systematic framework is still lacking. In this paper, we apply a data-driven methodology based on shareability networks to address what we call the "minimum parking" problem: what is the minimum parking infrastructure needed in a city for given on-demand mobility needs? While solving the problem, we also identify a critical tradeoff between two public policy goals: less parking means increased vehicle travel from deadheading between trips. By applying our methodology to the city of Singapore we discover that parking infrastructure reduction of up to 86% is possible, but at the expense of a 24% increase in traffic measured as vehicle kilometers travelled (VKT). However, a more modest 57% reduction in parking is achievable with only a 1.3% increase in VKT. We find that the tradeoff between parking and traffic obeys an inverse exponential law which is invariant with the size of the vehicle fleet. Finally, we analyze parking requirements due to passenger pick-ups and show that increasing convenience produces a substantial increase in parking for passenger pickup/dropoff. The above findings can inform policy-makers, mobility operators, and society at large on the tradeoffs required in the transition towards pervasive on-demand mobility.
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:<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:BACKGROUND:Physical inactivity contributes substantively to disease burden, especially in highly car dependent countries such as New Zealand (NZ). We aimed to quantify the future health gain, health-sector cost-savings, and change in greenhouse gas emissions that could be achieved by switching short vehicle trips to walking and cycling in New Zealand. METHODS:We used unit-level survey data to estimate changes in physical activity, distance travelled by mode, and air pollution for: (a) switching car trips under 1km to walking and (b) switching car trips under 5km to a mix of walking and cycling. We modelled uptake levels of 25%, 50%, and 100%, and assumed changes in transport behaviour were permanent. We then used multi-state life table modelling to quantify health impacts as quality adjusted life years (QALYs) gained and changes in health system costs over the rest of the life course of the NZ population alive in 2011 (n = 4.4 million), with 3% discounting. FINDINGS:The modelled scenarios resulted in health gains between 1.61 (95% uncertainty interval (UI) 1.35 to 1.89) and 25.43 (UI 20.20 to 30.58) QALYs/1000 people, with total QALYs up to 112,020 (UI 88,969 to 134,725) over the remaining lifespan. Healthcare cost savings ranged between NZ$127million (UI $101m to 157m) and NZ$2.1billion (UI $1.6b to 2.6b). Greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by up to 194kgCO2e/year, though changes in emissions were not significant under the walking scenario. CONCLUSIONS:Substantial health gains and healthcare cost savings could be achieved by switching short car trips to walking and cycling. Implementing infrastructural improvements and interventions to encourage walking and cycling is likely to be a cost-effective way to improve population health, and may also reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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:BACKGROUND:The existing smartphones' technology allows for the objective measurement of a person's movements at a fine-grained level of geographic and temporal detail, and in doing so, it mitigates the issues associated with self-report biases and lack of spatial details. This study proposes and evaluates the advantages of using a smartphone app for collecting accurate, fine-grained, and objective data on people's transport-related walking. METHODS:A sample of 142 participants (mostly young adults) was recruited in a large Australian university, for whom the app recorded all their travel activities over two weekdays during August-September 2014. We identified eight main activity nodes which operate as transport-related walking generators. We explored the participants' transport-related walking patterns around and between these activity nodes through the use of di-graphs to better understand patterns of incidental physical activity and opportunities for intervention to increase incidental walking. RESULTS:We found that the educational node - in other samples may be represented by the workplace - is as important as the residential node for generating walking trips. We also found that the likelihood of transport-related walking trips is larger during the daytime, whereas at night time walking trips tend to be longer. We also showed that patterns of transport-related walking relate to the presence of 'chaining' trips in the afternoon period. CONCLUSIONS:The findings of this study show how the proposed data collection and analytic approach can inform urban design to enhance walkability at locations that are likely to generate walking trips. This study's insights can help to shape public education and awareness campaigns that aim to encourage walking trips throughout the day by suggesting locations and times of the day when engaging in these forms of exercise is easiest and least intrusive.
Project description:Some trips are better than others, and more and more studies find that active travel (walking and cycling) is more satisfying than motorized forms of travel (using the car or public transport). Why is this the case? Using data on travel satisfaction from 4134 commutes to a large University campus in Dublin, Ireland, this paper replicates the differences in travel satisfaction between active and motorized travel. We attribute these differences in large part to the duration of the trip. Subjective trip characteristics, such as safety and convenience, also play important roles. The trip duration explains rush-hour effects as well as why people starting from less affluent and more difficult-to-reach places are less satisfied with their trips. Longer-term policy options suggested by these results include infrastructure developments and spatial development strategies. A shorter-term initiative would be to delay university schedules in the morning to avoid low travel satisfaction during the slow rush-hour period and simultaneously ease pressure on the transport network at peak times.
Project description:Modern, urban lifestyles have engineered physical activity out of everyday life and this presents a major threat to human health. The Netherlands is a world leader in active travel, particularly cycling, but little research has sought to quantify the cumulative amount of physical activity through everyday walking and cycling.Using data collected as part of the Dutch National Travel Survey (2010 - 2012), this paper determines the degree to which Dutch walking and cycling contributes to meeting minimum level of physical activity of 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity throughout the week. The sample includes 74,465 individuals who recorded at least some travel on the day surveyed. As physical activity benefits are cumulative, all walking and cycling trips are analysed, including those to and from public transport. These trips are then converted into an established measure of physical activity intensity, known as metabolic equivalents of tasks. Multivariate Tobit regression models were performed on a range of socio-demographic, transport resources, urban form and meteorological characteristics.The results reveal that Dutch men and women participate in 24 and 28 minutes of daily physical activity through walking and cycling, which is 41% and 55% more than the minimum recommended level. It should be noted however that some 57% of the entire sample failed to record any walking or cycling, and an investigation of this particular group serves as an important topic of future research. Active transport was positively related with age, income, bicycle ownership, urban density and air temperature. Car ownership had a strong negative relationship with physically active travel.The results of this analysis demonstrate the significance of active transport to counter the emerging issue of sedentary lifestyle disease. The Dutch experience provides other countries with a highly relevant case study in the creation of environments and cultures that support healthy, active living.