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Objective Mounting evidence documents the importance of urban form for active travel, but international studies could strengthen the evidence. The aim of the study was to document the strength, shape, and generalizability of relations of objectively measured built environment variables with transport-related walking and cycling.
Methods The IPEN Study is a cross-sectional study, which has maximized variation of environments and demographics by including multiple countries and by selecting adult participants living in neighborhoods based on higher and lower classifications of objectively measured walkability and socioeconomic status. Analyses were conducted on 12,181 adults aged 18-66 years, drawn from 14 cities across 10 countries worldwide. Frequency of transport-related walking and cycling over the last seven days was assessed by questionnaire and four objectively measured built environment variables were calculated. Associations of built environment variables with transport-related walking and cycling variables were estimated using generalized additive mixed models, and were tested for curvilinearity and study site moderation.
Results We found positive associations of walking for transport with all the environmental attributes, but also found that the relationships were not linear for residential density, intersection density, and the number of parks. Our findings suggest that there may be optimum values in these attributes, beyond which higher densities or number of parks could have negative impact. Cycling for transport was associated linearly with intersection density (only for any cycling) and land use mix, but not with residential density or number of parks.
Conclusion Across culturally and geographically different countries and cities, our study underscores the importance of density, land-use mix, parks and street connectivity for supporting active travel in adults. The study adds some interesting new findings. First, a threshold effect of residential density on walking for transport was found, and residential density did not have a significant effect on cycling for transport. Second, both land-use mix and street connectivity were important for both walking and cycling for transport. Third, there was variation across sites how parks were related to active transport, and especially for cycling local policies and cultures of park use seem to play an important role for the potential positive effect.
10. jun. 2016
15th scientific annual meeting for the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity