142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

What Moves Us: A Comparison of Perceived and Objective Predictors of Active Transportation Behaviors

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 3:30 PM - 3:50 PM

Maggie Grabow, PhD, MPH , Global Health Institute, University of Wisconsin -- Madison, Madison, WI
Background: On average in the United States, approximately 3.5 percent of commuting trips are taken by foot or bicycle, 5 percent by public transit, and the remaining 91.5 percent by motor vehicle. Lack of regular physical activity has been identified as one of the most significant public health issues in the United States, and the global significance of physical inactivity is increasing as developing countries adopt more Western modes of transportation. Recent evidence suggests that the physical design of the places where people live and work affects overall travel choices and the extent to which commuters utilize active transportation methods. However, studies to date offer an unclear picture of what specific neighborhood elements facilitate these modes of transport.

Aims: To analyze the association between objective measures of the built environment and active transportation behavior. Concurrently, to examine the association between people’s perceptions of their built environment and their subsequent propensity to use active transportation.

Methods: Analysis of the interview-based and self-report data from the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW) and the observational Wisconsin Assessment of the Social and Built Environment (WASABE), an ancillary study of the SHOW to assess attributes of the physical environment surrounding households of 1,029 adult residents living in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Active transportation behaviors were linked to environmental audit data and using geographic information systems (GIS) data.

Results: Both perceived and objective observations of many destinations within walking distance from home were positively associated with active transportation. Objectively measured bicycle friendliness (presence of a bike lane or road width supportive of bicycles), presence of trails, and sidewalk availability were also associated with active transportation.

Conclusions: Active transportation behaviors are likely to be associated with individuals’ perceptions of their built environment, but primarily with the presence of proximal destinations, trails, and streets supportive of bicycling and walking.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences

Learning Objectives:
Differentiate between perceived and objective predictors of active transportation behaviors

Keyword(s): Built Environment, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have spent the previous 8 years researching the relationships between health and the built environment -- including examining the many co-benefits of active transportation and understanding the perceived and objective predictors of active transportation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.