New Walking and Cycling Routes and Increased Physical Activity
Walking, cycling, and physical activity is increased over the longer term by proximity to high-quality, traffic-free routes for walking and cycling.
Goodman, Anna, Shannon Sahlqvist, and David Ogilvie. (2014). New Walking and Cycling Routes and Increased Physical Activity: One- and 2-Year Findings From the UK iConnect Study. American Journal of Public Health. e-View Ahead of Print July 17, 2014: e1–e9. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302059
This study evaluated the effects of providing new high-quality, traffic-free routes for walking and cycling on overall levels of walking, cycling, and physical activity. 1796 adult residents in 3 UK municipalities completed postal questionnaires at baseline (2010) and 1-year follow-up (2011), after the construction of the new infrastructure. 1465 adults completed questionnaires at baseline and 2-year follow-up (2012). Transport network distance from home to infrastructure defined intervention exposure and provided a basis for controlled comparisons.
Although living nearer the infrastructure did not predict changes in activity levels at 1-year follow-up, it did predict increases in activity at 2 years relative to those living farther away (15.3 additional minutes/week walking and cycling per km nearer; 12.5 additional minutes/week of total physical activity). The effects were larger among participants with no car.
The new local routes generated new trips in the longer term, particularly among those unable to access more distant destinations by car.