The potential for adults to accrue significant physical activity through public transit use is a topic of interest. However, there are no data on analogous questions among children. The goal of this analysis was to quantify patterns of transit use and correlates of transit-related physical activity among children aged 5 to 17 years.
Data for this cross-sectional study came from the 2012 California Household Travel Survey. Probit regressions modeled the probability of transit use; negative binomial regressions modeled minutes/day in transit-related active travel.
Public transit use accounted for 3% of trips in California in 2012. Older Hispanic youth and those residing in areas with greater housing density and county size had a higher probability of transit use. Driver licensure, home ownership, household income, and vehicles in household were negatively correlated with public transit use. Race/ethnicity, income, and transit type were correlated with time spent in active travel to/from transit.
Given its importance as a source of physical activity for some children, researchers should consider assessment of public transit-related activity in physical activity measurement instruments. Efforts to encourage active travel should consider how to incorporate transit-related activity, both from a measurement perspective and as an intervention strategy.