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Walking to transit: An unexpected source of physical activity


  • Morency, Catherine
  • Trépanier, Martin
  • Demers, Marie


Using data from a regional survey carried out in Montreal, this paper shows empirical evidence that modal shift from car to transit contributes to the volume of daily physical activity. First, the paper presents a method to calculate the walking distance related to transit trips, and a totally disaggregate trip assignment model. The walking distance involved in every transit trip is then associated to the individuals' characteristics to estimate the number of steps made by the population in the whole transit system. Results show that, in average, a transit trip involves 1250 steps, required to access and egress the network as well as to transfer between routes or modes. Thus, a round trip represents 2500 steps, which account for 25% of the recommended volume of physical activity per day. Hence, analysis shows that the volume of walking varies according to attributes of the traveler (general decrease with age, higher for men) and of the trip (study and work trip involve more steps, the use of train generates more steps). A regression model confirms that these variables significantly affect the number of steps involved in transit trips. Such positive outcome, for the traveler himself, is an innovative argument to promote the use of transit that is also aligned with current sustainable transportation goals.

Suggested Citation

  • Morency, Catherine & Trépanier, Martin & Demers, Marie, 2011. "Walking to transit: An unexpected source of physical activity," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 800-806, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:18:y:2011:i:6:p:800-806

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alan Hoback & Scott Anderson & Utpal Dutta, 2008. "True Walking Distance to Transit," Transportation Planning and Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(6), pages 681-692, September.
    2. Catherine Morency, 2008. "Enhancing the Travel Survey Process and Data Using the CATI System," Transportation Planning and Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(2), pages 229-248, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rind, Esther & Jones, Andy & Southall, Humphrey, 2014. "How is post-industrial decline associated with the geography of physical activity? Evidence from the Health Survey for England," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 88-97.
    2. Lourdes Diaz Olvera & Assogba Guezere & Didier Plat & Pascal Pochet, 2016. "L’intermodalité subie des citadins africains," Post-Print halshs-01367916, HAL.
    3. Alireza Ermagun & David Levinson, 2015. ""Transit Makes you Short": On Health Impact Assessment of Transportation and the Built Environment," Working Papers 000128, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
    4. Braun, Lindsay M. & Rodriguez, Daniel A. & Cole-Hunter, Tom & Ambros, Albert & Donaire-Gonzalez, David & Jerrett, Michael & Mendez, Michelle A. & Nieuwenhuijsen, Mark J. & de Nazelle, Audrey, 2016. "Short-term planning and policy interventions to promote cycling in urban centers: Findings from a commute mode choice analysis in Barcelona, Spain," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 164-183.
    5. William Michelson & Ugo Lachapelle, 2016. "Patterns of Walking Among Employed, Urban Canadians: Variations by Commuting Mode, Time of Day, and Days of the Week," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 11(4), pages 1321-1340, December.
    6. Ermagun, Alireza & Samimi, Amir, 2015. "Promoting active transportation modes in school trips," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 203-211.
    7. Simons, Dorien & Clarys, Peter & De Bourdeaudhuij, Ilse & de Geus, Bas & Vandelanotte, Corneel & Deforche, Benedicte, 2014. "Why do young adults choose different transport modes? A focus group study," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 151-159.
    8. Hong, Andy & Boarnet, Marlon G. & Houston, Douglas, 2016. "New light rail transit and active travel: A longitudinal study," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 131-144.
    9. repec:eee:trapol:v:59:y:2017:i:c:p:174-180 is not listed on IDEAS


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