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Substituting passive for active travel—what is the potential among adolescents?

The majority of Australian adolescents are insufficiently active and becoming car dependent. Replacing short passive travel (i.e. car, public transport) with active travel could be an important potential strategy to increase physical activity. This paper aims to characterize adolescents’ travel patterns to various destinations, identify passive trips that could be feasibly replaced by active travel, and the characteristics associated with those trips. Analyses were based on 2,192 Victorian secondary school students aged 12-17 years with 24-h travel diary data in the Victorian Integrated Survey of Travel Activity 2012 − 2016. Feasible distance thresholds for walking and cycling were determined at the 80th percentile of distances of reported walking and cycling trips in the sample. Comparison tests were conducted to assess whether travel patterns differed by sociodemographic characteristics. Multilevel logistic regression analyses identified characteristics of individuals that could replace passive trips with active travel, and characteristics of passive trips that could be replaced by active travel. About 11% of adolescents could feasibly replace at least one of their short passive trips with walking and 48% could feasibly replace at least one of their short passive trips with cycling. Of all the passive trips recorded, about 8% could be replaced with walking and 44% could be replaced with cycling. Trips that commenced within daylight hours, and trips made for shopping and social reasons had higher odds of being replaceable by active travel. The sizable proportion of replaceable passive trips within the cyclable threshold calls for greater emphasis on encouraging cycling.



International Journal of Sustainable Transportation






84 - 93