Walking for Transportation: What Do U.S. Adults Think Is a Reasonable Distance and Time?

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health


Less than one-third of U.S. adults walk for transportation. Public health strategies to increase transportation walking would benefit from knowing what adults think is a reasonable distance to walk. Our purpose was to determine 1) what adults think is a reasonable distance and amount of time to walk and 2) whether there were differences in minutes spent transportation walking by what adults think is reasonable.


Analyses used a cross-sectional nationwide adult sample (n = 3653) participating in the 2010 Summer ConsumerStyles mail survey.


Most adults (> 90%) think transportation walking is reasonable. However, less than half (43%) think walking a mile or more or for 20 minutes or more is reasonable. What adults think is reasonable is similar across most demographic subgroups, except for older adults (≥ 65 years) who think shorter distances and times are reasonable. Trend analysis that adjust for demographic characteristics indicates adults who think longer distances and times are reasonable walk more.


Walking for short distances is acceptable to most U.S. adults. Public health programs designed to encourage longer distance trips may wish to improve supports for transportation walking to make walking longer distances seem easier and more acceptable to most U.S. adults.

The authors are with the Physical Activity and Health Branch, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA; the Division of Human Development and Disability, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Atlanta, GA.

Watson (iyr4@cdc.gov) is corresponding author.