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July 1, 2022

Moving Toward Physical Activity Targets by Walking to Transit: National Household Transportation Survey, 2001-2017

Le, Vi T.; Dannenberg, Andrew L. (2020). Moving Toward Physical Activity Targets by Walking to Transit: National Household Transportation Survey, 2001-2017. American Journal Of Preventive Medicine, 59(3), E115 – E123.

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Introduction: Public transportation systems can help people engage in physical activity. This study assesses sociodemographic correlates and trends in the daily time spent walking to and from transit in the U.S. from 2001 to 2017. Methods: This cross-sectional study used data from the 2001, 2009, and 2017 National Household Transportation Survey. Data were analyzed in 2019 to assess the daily level of physical activity attained solely by walking to and from transit. Regression models were used to examine predictors of daily transit-associated walking. Results: Compared with the full National Household Transportation Survey sample, transit users who walked to and from transit tended to be younger, from households earning <$25,000 per year, in areas with rail infrastructure, and did not have a household-owned car. Transit walkers spent a median of 20 minutes per day (95% CI=18.5, 21.5) walking to and from transit in 2017, compared with a median of 19 minutes (95% CI=17.5, 20.5) in 2001. Among transit walkers, daily transitassociated physical activity was 27% higher for those residing in areas with rail infrastructure (adjusted coefficient=1.27, 95% CI=1.11, 1.46) and 34% higher for those from households earning $99,999 per year (adjusted coefficient=1.34, 95% CI=1.15, 1.56). Conclusions: As documented in a growing literature, most public transit trips include at least some walking; thus, efforts to encourage transit use are favorable to public health. Continued monitoring by transportation surveys is important as new forms of mobility and changing demographics may impact future transit use and associated physical activity. (C) 2020 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Physical Activity; Household Surveys; Public Transit; Cross-sectional Method; Public Health; Walking; Exercise; Research Funding; Transportation; Replacing Sedentary Time; Public-transit; Travel; Mortality; Adults; Health; Work