Transportation

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Walking and bicycling for daily transportation are important ways to get regular physical activity, but such active travel has decreased dramatically over the past few decades. Investing transportation funds in sidewalks, traffic-calming devices, greenways, trails and public transit make it easier for people to walk and bike within their own neighborhoods and to other places they need to go. Designing communities that support active travel also creates recreational opportunities, promotes health and can even lower health care costs. Research that shows how infrastructure improvements promote active travel can help policy-makers, planners and other professionals create healthier communities for residents of all ages.

Download our Transportation-related Resources Sheet for the best evidence available about a variety of transportation-based strategies for promoting physical activity.

You can also view and download our The Role of Transportation in Promoting Physical Activity infographic.

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Barriers to Municipal Planning for Pedestrians and Bicyclists in North Carolina

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Barriers to Municipal Planning for Pedestrians and Bicyclists in North Carolina
Description: 

Evenson, K.R., Aytur, S.A., Satinsky, S.B., & Rodriguez, D.A. (2011). Barriers to Municipal Planning for Pedestrians and Bicyclists in North Carolina. North Carolina Medical Journal, 72(2), 89-97.

Date: 
03/01/2011
Funding Source: 
Funded by the Active Living Research program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Abstract: 

BACKGROUND: The Guide to Community Preventive Services recommends implementing community- and street-scale urban design, as well as land use policies and practices, to promote walking and bicycling. To better understand barriers to municipal walking and bicycling projects and policies, we surveyed municipal staff in North Carolina. METHODS: We surveyed all 121 municipalities with at least 5,000 persons, and 62% responded. We also surveyed 216 of 420 municipalities with less than 5,000 persons, and 50% responded. The municipal staff member most knowledgeable about walking and bicycling planning was asked to complete the survey. Responses were weighted to account for the sampling design, to reflect prevalence estimates for all North Carolina municipalities. RESULTS: Common barriers to walking and bicycling projects and policies were selected from a 14-item list. For walking, barriers included lack of funding (93% of responding municipalities), other infrastructure priorities (79%), automobile infrastructure priorities (66%), and staffing challenges (65%). For bicycling, barriers included lack of funding (94% of responding municipalities), other infrastructure priorities (79%), automobile infrastructure priorities (73%), issues were not high priorities for the municipality (68%), staffing challenges (68%), and insufficient support from residents (63%). Barriers generally were more prevalent among rural municipalities than among urban municipalities (9 of 14 barriers for walking and 5 of 14 for bicycling; P < .10). LIMITATIONS: The study relied on 1 respondent to report for a municipality. Additionally, job titles of respondents varied with municipality size. CONCLUSIONS: Health professionals and multidisciplinary partners can assist in overcoming the common local- and state-level barriers to walking and bicycle projects and policies that are reported by North Carolina municipalities.

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Contributing to helping to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals: Truly shifting from niche to norm

Date: 
10/01/2017
Description: 

Giles-Corti B, Kerr J, & Pratt M. (2017). Contributing to helping to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals: Truly shifting from niche to norm. Prev Med. 103(Suppl), S1-S2.

Authors: 
Billie Giles-Corti, Jacqueline Kerr, Michael Pratt
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What makes an active public realm? Opportunities and challenges for research

Date: 
10/01/2017
Description: 

Harvey C & Rodriguez DA. (2017). What makes an active public realm? Opportunities and challenges for research. Prev Med. 103(Suppl), S5-S6.

Authors: 
Chester Harvey, Daniel A. Rodriguez
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The unrealised potential of bike share schemes to influence population physical activity levels – A narrative review

Date: 
10/01/2017
Description: 

Bauman A, Crane M, Drayton BA, et al. (2017). The unrealised potential of bike share schemes to influence population physical activity levels – A narrative review. Prev Med. 103(Suppl), S7-S14.

Abstract: 

The recent proliferation of bike share schemes (BSS, also known as public bicycle use programs) in many cities has focused attention on their potential for reducing motorised traffic congestion, improving air quality and reducing car use. Since 2005, hundreds of bike share schemes have been implemented in many cities, with bike share usage patterns monitored in many of them. This paper assesses the development of BSS and provides a rationale for their potential health benefits. The key research question, as yet unanswered, is whether BSS themselves can contribute to improving population health, particularly through increasing population cycling, which would increase population levels of health-enhancing physical activity. This paper presents a framework for evaluating the contribution of BSS to population physical activity, and uses examples of new data analyses to indicate the challenges in answering this question. These illustrative analyses examine cycling in Australia, and [i] compares rates of cycling to work in BSS cities compared to the rest of Australia over time, and [ii] modelling trends in bike counts in Central Melbourne before and after introduction of the BSS in 2010, and compared to adjacent regions in nearby suburbs unexposed to a BSS. These indicative examples point to difficulties in attributing causal increases in cycling for transport to the introduction of a BSS alone. There is an evidence gap, and a need to identify opportunities to improve the health-related components of BSS evaluations, to answer the question whether they have any impact on population physical activity levels.

Authors: 
Adrian Bauman, Melanie Crane, Bradley Alan Drayton, Sylvia Titze
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Moving targets: Promoting physical activity in public spaces via open streets in the US

Date: 
10/01/2017
Description: 

Hipp JA, Bird A, van Bakergem M, et al. (2017). Moving targets: Promoting physical activity in public spaces via open streets in the US. Prev Med. 103(Suppl), S15-S20.

Abstract: 

Popularity of Open Streets, temporarily opening streets to communities and closing streets to vehicles, in the US has recently surged. As of January 2016, 122 cities have hosted an Open Streets program. Even with this great expansion, the sustainability of Open Streets remains a challenge in many cities and overall Open Streets in the US differ from their successful counterparts in Central and South America.

Between summer 2015 and winter 2016, we reviewed the websites and social media of the 122 identified programs and interviewed 32 unique Open Streets programs. Websites and social media were reviewed for program initiation, number of Open Streets days, length of routes, duration of program, and reported participation. Interview questions focused on barriers and facilitators of expanding Open Streets and specific questioning regarding local evaluation activities. All interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed with constant comparative methodology.

Over three-quarters of US Open Streets programs have been initiated since 2010, with median frequency of one time per year, 4 h per date, and 5000–9999 participants. Seventy-seven percent of program routes are under 5 km in length.

Success of programs was measured by enthusiasm, attendance, social media, survey metrics, and sustainability. Thirteen of 32 program organizers expressed interest in expanding their programs to 12 dates per year, but noted consistent barriers to expansion including funding, permitting, and branding.

Though many cities now host Open Streets programs, their ability to effect public health remains limited with few program dates per year. Coordinated efforts, especially around funding, permitting, and branding may assist in expanding program dates.

Authors: 
J. Aaron Hipp, Alyssa Bird, Margaret van Bakergem, Elizabeth Yarnall
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Reclaiming the streets for people: Insights from Ciclovías Recreativas in Latin America

Date: 
10/01/2017
Description: 

Sarmiento OL, Díaz del Castillo A, Triana CA, et al. (2017). Reclaiming the streets for people: Insights from Ciclovías Recreativas in Latin America. Prev Med. 103(Suppl), S34-S40.

Abstract: 

The Ciclovías comprise worldwide programs in which streets are closed to motor-vehicles and open to individuals for leisure activities. Currently, 93% of the regular programs are in Latin American countries (LAC). The aims of this study were to describe the characteristics of regular Ciclovías in 7 LAC and to analyze the factors that influence the sustainability and scaling-up of five case studies. We conducted a survey of 67 Ciclovías in 2014–2015. In addition, we conducted semi-structured interviews with current and former program coordinators and reviewed policy documents from Ciclovías in 5 LAC. The greatest expansion of Ciclovías has occurred since 2000. The number of participants per event ranged from 40 to 1,500,000 (mean 41,399 ± 193,330; median 1600), and the length ranged from 1 to 113.6 km (mean 9.1 ± 16.4; median 3). Ciclovía routes connect low-middle and high income neighborhoods (89.3%), and include the participation of minority populations (61.2%). The main complementary activity offered was physical activity (PA) classes (94.0%), and 80.0% of the programs included strategies to promote biking. All five case studies met definitions for sustainability and scaling-up. All programs shared some level of government support, alliances, community appropriation, champions, compatibility with the mission of the host organization, organizational capacity, flexibility, perceived benefits, and funding stability. However, they differed in operational conditions, political favorability, sources of funding, and number of alliances. The Ciclovías of LAC showed heterogeneity within their design and sustainability factors. Both their heterogeneity and flexibility to adjust to changes make them promising examples of socially inclusive programs to promote PA.

Authors: 
Olga L. Sarmiento, Adriana Díaz del Castillo, Camilo A. Triana, María José Acevedo, Silvia A. Gonzalez, Michael Pratt
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Use of global positioning system for physical activity research in youth: ESPAÇOS Adolescentes, Brazil

Date: 
10/01/2017
Description: 

Oliveira Alberico C, Schipperijn J, & Reis RS. (2017). Use of global positioning system for physical activity research in youth: ESPAÇOS Adolescentes, Brazil. Prev Med. 103(Suppl), S59-S65.

Abstract: 

The built environment is an important factor associated with physical activity and sedentary behavior (SB) during adolescence. This study presents the methods for objective assessment of context-specific moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and SB, as well as describes results from the first project using such methodology in adolescents from a developing country. An initial sample of 381 adolescents was recruited from 32 census tracts in Curitiba, Brazil (2013); 80 had their homes geocoded and wore accelerometer and GPS devices for seven days. Four domains were defined as important contexts: home, school, transport and leisure. The majority of participants (n = 80) were boys (46; 57.5%), with a normal BMI (52; 65.0%) and a mean age (SD) of 14.5 (5.5) years. Adolescents spent most of their time at home, engaging in SB. Overall, the largest proportion of MVPA was while in transport (17.1% of time spent in this context) and SB while in leisure (188.6 min per day). Participants engaged in MVPA for a median of 28.7 (IQR 18.2–43.2) and 17.9 (IQR 9.2–32.1) minutes during week and weekend days, respectively. Participants spent most of their day in the leisure and home domains. The use of Geographic Information System (GIS), Global Positioning System (GPS) and accelerometer data allowed objective identification of the amount of time spent in MVPA and SB in four different domains. Though the combination of objective measures is still an emerging methodology, this is a promising and feasible approach to understanding interactions between people and their environments in developing countries.

Authors: 
Claudia Oliveira Alberico, Jasper Schipperijn, Rodrigo S Reis
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Are children living on dead-end streets more active? Near-home street patterns and school-going children's time spent outdoors in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Date: 
10/01/2017
Description: 

Monsur M, Mansur M, & Zakiul Islam M. (2017). Are children living on dead-end streets more active? Near-home street patterns and school-going children's time spent outdoors in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Prev Med. 103(Suppl), S73-S80.

Abstract: 

This study aimed to investigate relationships between near-home street patterns and children's time spent outdoors (TSO). Participants were 60 (n = 60) school-age Dhaka children, 7–11 years old (16 girls and 44 boys) selected by a two-phase cluster sampling method. Data were collected from September 2010 to June 2011 by visiting each of 60 children's homes. Children's mean TSOs (in minutes) were reported by parents' face-to-face interviews, and near-home street pattern data were collected by systematic direct observations. The researchers also collected data on seven socio-demographic variables and three neighborhood built-environment variables. A backward selection based multiple linear regression was used to examine association between children's TSO and near-home street patterns. Results (adjusted R2 = 0.66 for weekdays and 0.68 for weekend) suggested that children's TSO were significantly associated with near-home street type: dead-end instead of through streets (28 min on weekdays, p < 0.01 and 66 min on weekend, p < 0.01). The width of the street, level of its branching and availability of an open space or playground near the house are also positively associated with TSO. Near-home street features significantly contribute to TSO in school-going children of Dhaka.

Authors: 
Muntazar Monsur, Mohaimen Mansur, Mohammed Zakiul Islam
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