JTH – Abstracts: 2014 – Volume 1 – Issue 1

Volume 1 – 2014 – Issue 1

The role of bicycle sharing systems in normalising the image of cycling: An observational study of London cyclists

Abstract

Bicycle sharing systems are increasingly popular around the world and have the potential to increase the visibility of people cycling in everyday clothing. This may in turn help normalise the image of cycling, and reduce perceptions that cycling is ‘risky’ or ‘only for sporty people’. This paper sought to compare the use of specialist cycling clothing between users of the London bicycle sharing system (LBSS) and cyclists using personal bicycles. To do this, we observed 3594 people on bicycles at 35 randomly-selected locations across central and inner London. The 592 LBSS users were much less likely to wear helmets (16% vs. 64% among personal-bicycle cyclists), high-visibility clothes (11% vs. 35%) and sports clothes (2% vs. 25%). In total, 79% of LBSS users wore none of these types of specialist cycling clothing, as compared to only 30% of personal-bicycle cyclists. This was true of male and female LBSS cyclists alike (all p>0.25 for interaction). We conclude that bicycle sharing systems may not only encourage cycling directly, by providing bicycles to rent, but also indirectly, by increasing the number and diversity of cycling ‘role models’ visible.

Changes in outdoor mobility when becoming alone in the household in old age

Abstract

The aim of this article is to analyze reported changes in outdoor mobility, increased/unchanged/decreased, for a sample of older people (>62 years) in two regions in Sweden, who have transitioned from a two-person to a single-person household during the two years since the study was conducted. The target group (N=162) consists of all people who had transitioned to a single-person household in a random sample of 2033 people. The predominant results reveal that the stressful life event of transitioning into a single-person household in old age means reduced outdoor mobility for certain sub-groups. All modes of transport are used similarly regardless of reported changes in mobility (except for walking). Our results suggest that society must put more effort into offering good walking conditions, since (a) walking seems to be the most important mode of transport for outdoor mobility and (b) walking is valuated almost as high as car after becoming alone in the household regardless if the population in our study reported unchanged, decreased or increased mobility. Further, illuminating another result, namely that special transport service3 (STS) came out as especially important for people with increased activity, society also needs to invest in the provision of STS to keep the most vulnerable group of people mobile when other modes of transport are no longer a reality.

Why do teens abandon bicycling? A retrospective look at attitudes and behaviors

Abstract

Bicycling as a form of “active travel” is an easy way to integrate physical activity into daily life, with many benefits for health. Yet this potential is largely untapped in the U.S., where less than 1% of workers commute by bicycle. The problem may start as early as childhood, given a steep decline in bicycling to school among children in the U.S., particularly among high school students. This paper examines childhood and teenage experiences with and attitudes towards bicycling as seen in retrospect from adulthood. The results are drawn from a larger study that set out to explore the effect of experiences throughout life on the formation of attitudes towards bicycling. Fifty-four adult participants responded to open-ended interview questions regarding their bicycling experiences throughout their life course, starting from childhood. Results show that the way in which participants thought about bicycling changed from elementary school to high school, leading to decreased bicycling in teenage years and influencing attitudes and behavior as adults. High school students, especially females, were particularly sensitive to negative images associated with bicycling. The strong influence of social norms has important implications for policy.

Independent mobility on the journey to school: A joint cross-sectional and prospective exploration of social and physical environmental influences

Abstract
Background

Despite related physical/mental health benefits, children′s independent mobility for school travel (i.e. walking/cycling without adult accompaniment) has declined in recent decades.

Purpose

To examine cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between social/physical environmental variables and independent mobility on the school journey.

Methods

Participants were 1121 9–10 year-olds residing within 1600 m of their school in urban/rural areas of Norfolk, UK in 2007 (T1). At one year (T2) 491 children were followed-up. At T1, parents survey-reported perceptions of the social/physical environment and rules regarding their child′s physical activity. Characteristics of the neighborhood, route to school and school environment were measured using a Geographical Information System and school audits. At both time-points children survey-reported their usual travel mode and whether accompanied. Regression analyses were conducted in 2013.

Results

Around half walked/cycled to school without adult accompaniment (T1, 43%; T2, 53%). Parents often allowing their child to play outside anywhere within the neighborhood (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 3.14 (95% CI 1.24–7.96)) and household car access (AOR 0.27 (95% CI 0.08–0.94)) were associated longitudinally with boys walking/cycling independently to school. Land use mix (AOR 1.38 (95% CI 1.06–1.79)), proportion of main roads in the neighborhood (AOR 0.67 (95% CI 0.47–0.94)) and parental encouragement for walking/cycling (AOR 0.40 (95% CI 0.20–0.80)) were associated longitudinally with girls walking/cycling independently to school.

Conclusions

Interventions should develop parents′ skills to teach their children to be independently mobile and to build confidence regarding venturing out without parental accompaniment. Urban planners should consider designing neighborhoods in which residences, business/retail outlets and sports facilities are co-located to promote active transport.

The contribution of light levels to ethnic differences in child pedestrian injury risk: a case-only analysis

Abstract
Background

Many studies in countries across the world have identified minority ethnic children at higher risk of pedestrian injury compared to their majority counterparts. Understanding why minority ethnicity increases risk has proved challenging. One hypothesis which has not, to date, been explicitly tested in the published literature is the ‘conspicuity hypothesis׳: namely that ethnic differences in pedestrian risk may reflect differences in the relative ‘visibility’ of some groups in traffic environments. This study investigates whether the ‘conspicuity hypothesis׳ can help explain ethnic inequalities in child pedestrian injury risk in London.

Methods

Using a time series of police injury records in London from 2000–2009 we assess the impact of sunlight levels on child pedestrian injury controlling for diurnal patterns of injuries and weather conditions. We then explore the distribution of casualties by ethnic group using a case-only analysis to assess whether light intensity has a differential effect on injury risk by ethnic group.

Results

All children were at increased injury risk during civil twilight (the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset) compared with during the day. We found no association between astronomical twilight (the hour after sunset and the hour before sunrise) and night time and injury. We found no evidence for the conspicuity hypothesis. A similar proportion of ‘Black and ‘White’ child pedestrian injuries occur during darkness, and our models found that light levels had a similar effect on injury risk to children from all ethnic groups.

Conclusion

There was no evidence that non-White minority ethnic children in London are at higher risk of injury because they are less conspicuous at night time.

Public transport access and availability in the RESIDE study: Is it taking us where we want to go?

Abstract

A disproportionate focus of research to date has focussed on public transport (PT) opportunities available within the residential neighbourhood, despite the need to focus on origin and destination PT infrastructure. Furthermore, there are recommended maximum access distances of 400 m for lower quality PT services (e.g., bus) and 800 m for higher quality PT services (e.g., rail). This study investigates associations between commuting behaviours and distance to bus and rail stops from residence and workplace, and the PT access thresholds and densities in a sample of 238 employed adults drawn from the RESIDE study in Perth, Australia. Self-reported usual workplace travel mode was compared with objectively derived home to work commute distance, and distance to the nearest rail and bus stops from residence and workplace. Overall, 207 (87.0%) participants usually commuted to work by private motor vehicle (PMV), and 31 (13.0%) participants commuted by PT modes. Those who travelled to work using PT modes had longer commute distances, but had bus and rail stops located closer to their workplace compared with respondents who commuted using PMV modes. Compared with those only having proximate residential PT access, respondents who only had proximate workplace PT access (adjusted OR=11.57), or had both proximate residence and workplace PT access (adjusted OR=16.51) were substantially more likely to commute to work using PT modes. These findings highlight the importance of proximate PT infrastructure both near home and workplaces. People seemed willing to travel beyond the recommended bus and rail thresholds to access PT, provided it took them close to their workplace.

Travel to work and self-reported stress: Findings from a workplace survey in south west Sydney, Australia

Abstract
Objective

To examine the association between self-reported stress from commuting and travel mode to work in an Australian urban context.

Methods

An on-line cross-sectional survey of hospital staff travel behaviour was conducted in September 2011. Respondents were asked about their daily travel to work over 7 days, the stress of their commute relative to the rest of their working day, physical activity over the previous week, plus demographic information. Logistic regression was used to investigate the association of travel mode to work with stress.

Results

There were 675 survey respondents, with 14.7% actively commuting (walking, cycling or using public transport). Active commuters reported a lower level of stress (10.3%) compared with car drivers (26.1%) with an adjusted odds ratio of 0.35, 95% confidence interval 0.17–0.73, P<0.05.

Conclusions

Active travel to work was perceived to be less stressful than car commuting relative to the stress of a work day. These data are among the first in Australia to consider variation in self-reported stress by travel mode.

Carsharing as active transport: What are the potential health benefits?

Abstract

Over the past two decades, carsharing has become a mainstream transportation mode for over a million users worldwide. It is thus far demonstrating some success in efforts to reduce reliance on the private car. While the economic and environmental impacts of carsharing are well explored, research to date has not addressed the potential health benefits to be gained from this emerging mode of transport. This article seeks to redress this deficiency through a novel exploration of the potential health benefits of carsharing.

The article uses a health lens to problematise existing transport systems that are dominated by private car use. The conceptual potential for carsharing to address some of these problems is then explored. This potential is subsequently tested using a systematic review of existing literature. Peer-reviewed literature from 2005 to March 2013 was searched to identify evaluations of health outcomes associated with carsharing. A three step exclusion process was used to identify articles suitable for reporting. Data was then extracted for analysis using a standard code sheet developed for this study. Seven articles remained for reporting after the review process. All were published in transport related journals. There was very little inter-study similarity in design and substantial variation in the way results have been analysed and reported. These factors prevent estimation of pooled effects and limit conclusions from this data.

Not withstanding the limits inherent to the data, this review finds that all studies demonstrated that carsharing reduced vehicle ownership and/or changed travel behaviour. These changes have potential health benefits. More rigorous scientific research is required to determine the health benefits of carsharing membership. Evidence to date warrants a conceptualisation of active transport as extending beyond walking, cycling and the use of public transport in future explorations of related health benefits.

Health implications of transport planning, development and operations

Abstract

The links between transport and health are well documented, but the extent of these benefits and disbenefits is not widely understood by non-health professionals. Additionally, there are less obvious, indirect ways in which transport and health are linked. This paper provides a broad overview of the literature, compiling empirical evidence that describes, and where possible quantifies, the health effects of transport planning for the reference of transport professionals. The paper makes the case for considering health alongside the environment when assessing a policy or development′s sustainability, and provides empirical evidence to assist transport professionals in considering benefits or disbenefits involved.

Transport and clinical practice

Abstract

This article summarises the transport and health agenda for health care practitioners who seek to understand how transport-related issues affect the well-being of their patients, and how disease and symptoms affects their patients’ ability to travel. It is a resource for general medical education; it may also be useful in specialist training and in the training of other health professionals, particularly nurses and therapists. There is a lack of awareness among many health care professionals of the health benefits of active travel, adverse consequences of car use, and the financial cost to health services in providing car parking spaces.