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Developing a framework for assessment of the environmental determinants of walking and cycling


  • Pikora, Terri
  • Giles-Corti, Billie
  • Bull, Fiona
  • Jamrozik, Konrad
  • Donovan, Rob


The focus for interventions and research on physical activity has moved away from vigorous activity to moderate-intensity activities, such as walking. In addition, a social ecological approach to physical activity research and practice is recommended. This approach considers the influence of the environment and policies on physical activity. Although there is limited empirical published evidence related to the features of the physical environment that influence physical activity, urban planning and transport agencies have developed policies and strategies that have the potential to influence whether people walk or cycle in their neighbourhood. This paper presents the development of a framework of the potential environmental influences on walking and cycling based on published evidence and policy literature, interviews with experts and a Delphi study. The framework includes four features: functional, safety, aesthetic and destination; as well as the hypothesised factors that contribute to each of these features of the environment. In addition, the Delphi experts determined the perceived relative importance of these factors. Based on these factors, a data collection tool will be developed and the frameworks will be tested through the collection of environmental information on neighbourhoods, where data on the walking and cycling patterns have been collected previously. Identifying the environmental factors that influence walking and cycling will allow the inclusion of a public health perspective as well as those of urban planning and transport in the design of built environments.

Suggested Citation

  • Pikora, Terri & Giles-Corti, Billie & Bull, Fiona & Jamrozik, Konrad & Donovan, Rob, 2003. "Developing a framework for assessment of the environmental determinants of walking and cycling," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1693-1703, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:56:y:2003:i:8:p:1693-1703

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    Cited by:

    1. Downward, Paul & Rasciute, Simona, 2015. "Assessing the impact of the National Cycle Network and physical activity lifestyle on cycling behaviour in England," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 425-437.
    2. Darker, Catherine D. & Larkin, Michael & French, David P., 2007. "An exploration of walking behaviour--An interpretative phenomenological approach," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(10), pages 2172-2183, November.
    3. Ivory, Vivienne C. & Blakely, Tony & Pearce, Jamie & Witten, Karen & Bagheri, Nasser & Badland, Hannah & Schofield, Grant, 2015. "Could strength of exposure to the residential neighbourhood modify associations between walkability and physical activity?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 232-241.
    4. Vandenbulcke, Grégory & Dujardin, Claire & Thomas, Isabelle & Geus, Bas de & Degraeuwe, Bart & Meeusen, Romain & Panis, Luc Int, 2011. "Cycle commuting in Belgium: Spatial determinants and 're-cycling' strategies," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 118-137, February.
    5. Cutts, Bethany B. & Darby, Kate J. & Boone, Christopher G. & Brewis, Alexandra, 2009. "City structure, obesity, and environmental justice: An integrated analysis of physical and social barriers to walkable streets and park access," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(9), pages 1314-1322, November.
    6. Cerin, Ester & Leslie, Eva & Owen, Neville, 2009. "Explaining socio-economic status differences in walking for transport: An ecological analysis of individual, social and environmental factors," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(6), pages 1013-1020, March.
    7. Curtis, Carey & Babb, Courtney & Olaru, Doina, 2015. "Built environment and children's travel to school," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 21-33.
    8. Bentley, Rebecca & Jolley, Damien & Kavanagh, Anne Marie, 2010. "Local environments as determinants of walking in Melbourne, Australia," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 1806-1815, June.
    9. van Lenthe, F. J. & Brug, J. & Mackenbach, J. P., 2005. "Neighbourhood inequalities in physical inactivity: the role of neighbourhood attractiveness, proximity to local facilities and safety in the Netherlands," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(4), pages 763-775, February.
    10. Hong, Jinhyun, 2016. "How does the seasonality influence utilitarian walking behaviour in different urbanization settings in Scotland?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 143-150.
    11. Vinikoor-Imler, L.C. & Messer, L.C. & Evenson, K.R. & Laraia, B.A., 2011. "Neighborhood conditions are associated with maternal health behaviors and pregnancy outcomes," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(9), pages 1302-1311.
    12. de Vries, Sjerp & van Dillen, Sonja M.E. & Groenewegen, Peter P. & Spreeuwenberg, Peter, 2013. "Streetscape greenery and health: Stress, social cohesion and physical activity as mediators," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 26-33.
    13. McMillan, Tracy E., 2007. "The relative influence of urban form on a child's travel mode to school," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 69-79, January.


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