Deakin University

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From motorised to active travel: using GPS data to explore potential physical activity gains among adolescents

journal contribution
posted on 2023-02-09, 04:04 authored by V Loh, Shannon SahlqvistShannon Sahlqvist, Jenny VeitchJenny Veitch, Lukar ThorntonLukar Thornton, Jo SalmonJo Salmon, E Cerin, J Schipperijn, Anna TimperioAnna Timperio
Background: A high proportion of adolescents worldwide are not doing enough physical activity for health benefits. Replacing short motorised trips with walking or cycling has the potential to increase physical activity at the population level. This study aimed to estimate the proportion of short distance motorised trips that could be replaced with walking or cycling, and the potential physical activity gains by sociodemographic and trip characteristics. Methods: Data were from a subsample of the NEighbourhood Activity in Youth (NEArbY) study conducted among adolescents in Melbourne. A total of 217 adolescents with at least one motorised trip completed a survey and wore a Global Positioning Systems (GPS) device for eight consecutive days. Classification of travel modes were based on speed. GPS data points were geocoded in ArcGIS. Motorised trips within walkable (1.3 km) and cyclable (4.2 km) distances were identified (threshold based on 80th percentile of walking and cycling trip distances among Victorian adolescents), and the additional physical activity minutes that could be accrued by replacing walkable or cyclable motorised trip to active trips were quantified. Multilevel linear regression was used to assess differences in physical activity minutes gain by sociodemographic and trip characteristics. Results: A total of 4,116 motorised trips were made. Of these, 17% were walkable and 61% were cyclable. Replacing motorised trips by walking and cycling resulted in estimated gains of six minutes and 15 min of physical activity per day, respectively. Conclusion: The sizable proportion of replaceable trips and potential physical activity gains from this shift calls for attention to improve safe and connected infrastructure to support active travel.



BMC Public Health