Using Signage to Promote Stair Use on a University Campus in Hidden and Visible Stairwells

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

This study tested the effectiveness of a stair use promotion strategy in visible and hidden stairwells during intervention and post intervention follow up.

Methods:

A quasi-experimental study design was used with a 1 week baseline, a 3 week intervention, and post intervention at 2 and 4 weeks in 4 university buildings in San Antonio, Texas with stairwells varying in visibility. Participants were students, faculty, staff, and visitors to the 4 buildings. A total of 8431 observations were made. The intervention incorporated motivational signs with direction to nearby stairwells placed by elevators to promote stair use. Stair and elevator use was directly observed and recorded. Logistic regression analyses were used to test whether stair versus elevator use varied by intervention phase and stairwell visibility.

Results:

Stair use increased significantly (12% units) during the intervention period and remained above baseline levels during post intervention follow-up. At baseline, visible stairs were 4 times more likely to be used than hidden stairs; however, the increase in stair use during intervention was similar in both types of stairwells.

Conclusions:

Motivational and directional signage can significantly increase stair use on a university campus. Furthermore, stairwell visibility is an important aspect of stair use promotion.

Grimstvedt is with the Dept of Exercise and Wellness, Arizona State University Polytechnic, Mesa, AZ. Kerr is with the Dept of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA. Oswalt, Fogt, Vargas-Tonsing, and Yin are with the Dept of Health and Kinesiology, University of Texas at San Antonio, TX.