Correlates of Trail Use for Recreation and Transportation on 5 Massachusetts Trails

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
Restricted access


Promoting use of community trails is a recommended strategy for increasing population levels of physical activity. Correlates of walking and cycling for recreation or transportation differ, though few studies have compared correlates of trailbased physical activity for recreation and transportation purposes. This study examined associations of demographic, social, and perceived built environmental factors with trail use for recreation and transportation and whether associations were moderated by age, gender, and prior trail use.


Adults (N = 1195) using 1 of 5 trails in Massachusetts responded to an intercept survey. We used multiple linear and logistic regression models to examine associations with trail use.


Respondents’ mean age was 44.9 years (standard deviation = 12.5), 55.3% were female, and 82.0% were white. Age (longer-term users only), trail use with others, travel time to the trail, and trail design were significantly associated with use for recreation (P < .05). Age, gender, trail safety (longer-term users only), travel time to the trail, trail design (younger users only), and trail beauty were associated with use for transportation (P < .05).


Some common correlates were found for recreational and transportation trail use, whereas some variables were uniquely associated with use for 1 purpose. Tailored strategies are suggested to promote trail use for recreation and transportation.

Orstad and Klenosky are with the Dept of Health and Kinesiology; Mattson is with the Brian Lamb School of Communication; Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. McDonough is with the Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Troped is with the Dept of Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA.

Troped ( is corresponding author.