Impacts of public transit improvements on ridership, and implications for physical activity, in a low-density Canadian city

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Abstract

Public transit ridership offers valuable opportunities for modest amounts of daily physical activity (PA). Transit is a more feasible option for most Canadian commuters who live too far from work to walk or cycle, yet public transit usage in midsized Canadian cities has historically remained low due to inefficient transit service.The objectives of this longitudinal study were threefold: to assess whether the introduction of express transit service in the low-density city of Kingston, Ontario, has translated to greater transit use among a targeted employee group; to document the characteristics of those employees that have shifted to transit; and to examine the PA levels of employees using transit compared to other commute modes.An online survey was administered in October 2013 and October 2014 to all non-student employees at Queen's University. 1356 employees completed the survey in 2013, and 1123 in 2014; 656 of these employees completed the survey both years, constituting our longitudinal sample.Year-round transit ridership increased from 5.5% in 2013 to 8.5% in 2014 (p < 0.001). Employees who shifted to transit had fewer household-level opportunities to drive to work and more positive attitudes toward transit. Transit commuters accrued an average of 80. minutes/week of commute-related PA, and 50 minutes/week more total PA than those that commuted entirely passively.Kingston Transit's express service has stimulated an increase in transit ridership among one of their target employers, Queen's University. The findings from this study suggest that shifting to transit from entirely passive commuting can generate higher overall PA levels.

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APA

Collins, P. A., & Agarwal, A. (2015). Impacts of public transit improvements on ridership, and implications for physical activity, in a low-density Canadian city. Preventive Medicine Reports, 2, 874–879. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2015.10.001

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