Associations of mode of travel to work with physical activity, and individual, interpersonal, organisational, and environmental characteristics

Harriet Batista Ferrer*, Ashley Cooper, Suzanne Audrey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

11 Citations (Scopus)
214 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: Encouraging walking during the daily commute is a potential strategy for increasing physical activity levels. This study aimed: (i) to examine, and compare by travel mode, the objectively measured physical activity of a working adult population, and, (ii) to identify associations between mode of travel to work and a range of individual, interpersonal, organisational and environmental characteristics. Methods: Employees (n=654) recruited from 87 workplaces in geographically distinct areas provided data through accelerometers, Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, travel diaries and questionnaires. Separate multivariable logistic regression models were developed to examine factors associated with physical activity during the commute and mode of travel to work. Results: In comparison to car users (7.3 minutes±Standard Deviation 7.6), walkers (34.3±18.6) and public transport users (25.7±14.0) accrued substantially higher levels of daily moderate to vigorous physical activity during the commute. Combined accelerometer and GPS data showed that participants who walked at least ten minutes during their commute were more likely to have a shorter commute distance (p<0.001), occupy a sedentary job (p<0.01), and be classified as ‘underweight or normal weight’ (p<0.03). No car access (p<0.001), and absence of free work car parking (p<0.01) were independently related to walking to work and using public transport. Shorter commuting distances were also related to walking to work (p<0.001). Public transport users were more likely to be younger (p=0.04), have more positive environmental perceptions (p=0.01), and less likely to combine their commute with caring responsibilities (p=0.03). Conclusions: This study shows that walking to work and using public transport are important contributors to physical activity levels in a working population. Planning, transport and behavioural interventions to promote walking during the commute should take into account the wider determinants. Reducing availability of free work car parking is one possible strategy to discourage car use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-55
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Transport and Health
Early online date1 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018

Structured keywords

  • DECIPHer


  • Active travel
  • Commute
  • Physical activity
  • Walking
  • Workplace policies

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    Travel to Work

    Audrey, S.


    Project: Research

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