Examining Relationship Between Transit Use and Active Transportation in Canada: Time Use Approach of the Active Lifestyle of Transit Users
Lachapelle Ugo, University of QuebecShow Abstract
The use of public transit has been positively associated with active transportation mainly because active transport is typically required to access and egress stations. Transit users may adopt a lifestyle that enables them to walk and bicycle more to destinations other than transit stops or stations. This study seeks to analyze the relationship between public transit use and active transportation in residents of larger urban areas of Canada.Using an urban sample of the time use module of Canada’s General Social Survey (2005, n= 10,867, weighted to represent 15,298,948 Canadians), meeting Canadian physical activity guidelines of 30 minutes or more of moderate physical activity through walking on survey day was assessed using a logistic regression. Using public transit during the day was the main correlate, controlling for socio demographic characteristics and survey day. Transit users (8.5%) met physical activity guidelines (Adjusted Odds Ratio: 1.66 and 2.87 respectively for bus and subway/train) by walking to public transit or to other destinations. Additional analysis of walk time by purpose shows that trip duration do not vary significantly between transit users and non-users once an individual walks for a specific purpose, but a higher proportion of transit users walked for each studied purpose. Above and beyond the walks to public transit stops or stations, transit users perform more active transportation to destinations by taking more trips for various purposes. Promoting public transit use by developing infrastructure may provide health benefits beyond a reduction in travel related energy use and Greenhouse gas emissions.
Spatial Aggregation Method for Anonymous Surveys: Case Study for Associations Between Urban Environment and Obesity
Nima Amini, University of New South WalesShow Abstract
Taha Rashidi, University of New South Wales
Lauren Gardner, Johns Hopkins University
S. Waller, University of New South Wales
Obesity and other chronic diseases are becoming more prevalent in affluent countries such as Australia, and as such researchers are trying to understand and combat this trend. One related growing stream of research explores the role of the built environment and the transport system on an individual’s weight. However, results from many of the studies conducted have been contradictory. One of the primary causes of these contradictions is due to the way the neighbourhood area is defined, which directly affects how the built environment variables are calculated in GIS. The potential impacts on regression analysis resulting from different data aggregation methods are well documented in spatial studies, geography and regional planning fields, and it is primarily referred to as the Modifiable Aerial Unit Problem (MAUP). In this paper, the focus is on reducing the error caused by MAUP by introducing a new data aggregation method. Individual health and lifestyle data are obtained from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, and the relationship between the built environment and obesity is evaluated using a discrete choice model. The proposed aggregation method is evaluated across three spatial scales, and compared against a conventional data aggregation method (i.e. utilising predefined administrative boundaries such as census tracks). The results reveal a stronger relationship between land use variables and obesity when the proposed aggregation method is implemented.
This paper is relevant primarily to researchers as it provides an improved aggregation method to deal with some of the privacy restrictions of surveys. It is also relevant to practitioners and policy makers by quantifying the association between specific built environment variables and obesity.
Health Impacts of Active Transportation in Rural Communities: Case Study in Ennis, Three Forks, and Townsend, Montana
Yiyi Wang, San Francisco State UniversityShow Abstract
Hui Wu, University of Texas, Austin
Meia Matsuda, University of California, Berkeley
In order to expand on the limited literature on rural active travel, this study conducted a transportation-health survey in three rural towns in Montana to identify factors influencing travel decisions and to assess the effects of active travel on Body Mass Index (BMI). Using BMI as the main health indicator, in addition to attitude variables, this research identified the underlying trends relating the built environment (BE), active transportation, and health. The rural towns studied exhibited relatively strong support for new bike/walk infrastructure and bike/walk facility improvements, and providing active transportation networks contributed to a higher adoption rate of non-motorized modes and health (BMI) benefits. No substitution pattern was found between leisure-time physical activity and active travel: people who exercised more tended to undertake more active travel. As safety concerns influenced transportation choices in these communities, facility additions and improvements that make people feel safer would be more effective in increasing active travel. Despite the active travel potential, rural areas do face unique challenges such as long travel distance, and the solutions to promote active travel and healthful living for rural areas may well look quite different than those for urban areas (e.g., flexible fee structure for bike-sharing programs).
Intake of Air Pollutants by Cyclists in Urban Environments: Characterization Using Low-Cost Mobile Monitoring
Ronan DoorleyShow Abstract
Conor de Courcy, Trinity College, Dublin
Francesco Pilla, Trinity College, Dublin
Bidisha Ghosh, Trinity College, Dublin
In recent years, commuting by bicycle has been encouraged as a way of improving health and fitness. However, some studies have shown that although cyclists do not create air pollution, they experience increased exposure to air pollution compared to other road users. Moreover, air pollution exposure is associated with increased risk of lung cancer, cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. In order to understand the extent of the health risk faced by cyclists due to air pollution, it is essential to be able to quantify the pollution exposures of cyclists and the contributions of factors such as traffic volumes, cycling facilities and meteorological conditions. Until recently, gaseous pollution sensors were prohibitively large and expensive and/or had poor temporal resolution. However, recent advances in electrochemical sensor technology and low power electronics present an opportunity to characterize the pollution exposure of cyclists at high spatial and temporal resolution. This study presents the development and validation of a custom sensing platform incorporating a low cost NO x sensor. The platform is used along with a heart rate monitor and GPS tracking to explore the air pollution exposure concentrations and intake rate of a cyclist on two routes in Dublin city. Mixed linear models are used to explore the effects of variables relating to the road network, the weather and cyclist behavior. It has been found that cycle lanes adjacent to the road reduce NO x exposure concentrations by 34% and NO x intake per meter travelled by 43% compared to on-road cycling. It was also found that bus lanes increase NOx exposure concentrations by 10.5% but do not significantly affect NOx intake per meter. Faster cycling was found to significantly reduce NO x intake per meter but this may not be true for all individuals. These results may aid urban planners in designing cycling facilities in order to mitigate the health impacts of air pollution.
Socioeconomic Discrepancies in Children’s Access to Physical Activity Facilities: An Activity Space Analysis
Lea Ravensbergen, University of TorontoShow Abstract
Ron Buliung, University of Toronto, Mississauga
Few Canadian children meet current physical activity recommendations, especially children from households having lower socioeconomic status (SES). Previous work suggests that accessibility to, quality of, and cost of physical activity promoting facilities influences physical activity (PA) levels. Disparities in accessibility to PA resources may contribute to neighborhood health and social inequalities. Many studies examine geographic accessibility to health-promoting facilities in residential neighborhoods, ignoring individual’s mobility and other barriers to access such as cost and quality. This study examines SES differences in accessibility to physical activity for schoolchildren as they move throughout the day. It does so using activity spaces measured using a modified version of a road network buffer and a shortest path network estimation method. SES based differences in use and quality of visited physical activity resources are also considered. Results indicate that the high SES sample has greater accessibility to physical activity facilities and uses them more frequently. Used facilities are of higher quality than those used by children living in low SES neighborhoods. Cost is identified as a potential barrier to facility access for the low SES group. In order to combat health inequalities, these results suggest that cities must provide high quality, affordable, and accessible resources across all neighborhoods.
Transportation Planning and Quality of Life: Where Do They Intersect?
Richard Lee, Texas A&M Transportation InstituteShow Abstract
Ipek Sener, Texas A&M Transportation Institute
Policy makers and researchers are increasingly recognizing the connections between public health and transportation, but health improvements are typically framed from a physical health perspective rather than considering broader quality of life (QOL) impacts. Currently, there is a limited understanding of the ways in which transportation and QOL intersect, and little is known about how metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in the United States are addressing QOL outcomes. This study addressed these gaps by developing a conceptual framework linking transportation to QOL. The proposed framework identified four transportation-related QOL dimensions—physical, mental, social, and economic well-being—which are predominantly influenced by three components of the transportation system: mobility/accessibility, the built environment, and vehicle traffic. This framework formed the basis for a content analysis of 148 long-range transportation plans in the United States to evaluate the extent to which QOL is being considered in the planning process. The results of the analysis and a follow-up examination of 13 plans revealed that MPOs are inconsistently addressing QOL. Plans primarily targeted QOL enhancement from the perspective of physical well-being, while mental and social well-being were rarely considered. Often, it appeared that QOL was a secondary or unintended byproduct of planning objectives. The findings from the framework and analysis suggest that agencies and researchers should move beyond physical well-being considerations and work to more comprehensively integrate QOL into the transportation planning process.
Behavioral Effects of Completing a Critical Link in the American Tobacco Trail
Thomas Cook, No OrganizationShow Abstract
Sarah O'Brien, UNC Highway Safety Research Center
Kristy Jackson, Stewart Inc
Daniel Findley, North Carolina State University
Sarah Searcy, Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE)
This study responded to a unique opportunity to determine behavioral changes that resulted from the construction of a critical link of the American Tobacco Trail (ATT) in Durham, North Carolina. Observational data were collected both before and after construction of a bicycle and pedestrian bridge that linked two separate segments of the regional greenway. Prior to construction of the bridge and trail connections, the two segments of the ATT were separated by Interstate 40. Heavy traffic on local streets, as well as a lack of bicycle and pedestrian facilities in the area provided additional barriers to active travel between the two ATT segments.
ITRE conducted intercept surveys and manual counts on the two trail segments before and after construction of the bridge. The before and after data were compared to determine the changes that occurred in use of the ATT and accompanying social, public health, transportation, and economic effects.
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