Research & reports

Title: What explains active travel behaviour? Evidence from case studies in the UK

Organisation: University of Southampton (Transport Research Group)
Date uploaded: 9th April 2014
Date published/launched: December 2013

This study aims to reveal the individual and built environmental characteristics that are associated with these behaviours by examining the current level of walking and cycling for transport in three UK case-study areas.

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Walking and cycling are considered to be healthy and environmentally friendly modes of travel that can mitigate the harmful effects of motorised journeys.

This study aimed to reveal the individual and built environmental characteristics that are associated with these behaviours by examining the current level of walking and cycling for transport in three UK case-study areas. Obligatory and discretionary journeys were separately modelled under the assumption that different factors would affect mode choice.

More than 70% of respondents incorporated walking and/or cycling into their weekly travel and about 15% had ridden bicycles at least once for non-recreational purposes during the last seven days.

The study also found that more walking journeys were made for discretionary purposes compared with obligatory journeys, while cycling was more common for obligatory journeys.

Using the concept of the active travel share, the researchers developed models analysing active travel behaviour. The results confirmed that both personal and household characteristics had clear associations with the tendency for non-motorised travel. In particular, age, physical fitness, and vehicle ownership were significantly associated with active travel in all models.

The built environment, on the other hand, had significant associations with active travel only for obligatory journeys with the exception of distance to the main activity site, which was found to be significant for both journey types.

For more information contact:
Professor John Preston

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