Patterns and predictors of changes in active commuting over 12 months

Jenna Panter, Simon Griffin, Alice M Dalton, David Ogilvie
Preventive Medicine 2013, 57 (6): 776-84

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.

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