Individuals that engage in active transportation (AT) have healthier weights and fitness levels. Most AT research has focused on work- or school-based destinations. Meanwhile, little is known about the differences between individuals that engage in the most common forms of AT—walking and cycling—and how these AT patterns vary by destination, duration, and season.
We recruited 1400 randomly sampled adults (350 per season) in Kingston, Ontario, Canada to complete a cross-sectional telephone survey. The survey captured the prevalence, destinations, and duration of AT, and we examined the observed differences by mode.
The majority (72%) of respondents were AT-users; walking constituted 93% of overall mode share. Cyclists were more likely to be male, younger, and employed than walkers. Walkers tended to access neighborhood-based destinations, while cyclists were more likely to use AT to get to work. AT duration was comparable by mode, ranging from approximately 8 to 20 minutes. Overall rates of AT were lowest in the winter, but walking rates were reasonably high year-round.
Beyond commuting to work and school, policy-makers and planners should consider the breadth of destinations accessed by different modes when aiming to increase physical activity through AT in their communities.
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Collins (firstname.lastname@example.org) is with the School of Urban and Regional Planning, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Mayer is with the Research and Evaluation Division, Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox & Addington Public Health, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.