19 April 2017

What influences people to walk to work?

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New research from the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM) at Loughborough University has identified that older age groups and people who own a car should be considered as key target groups for interventions to increase commuter walking. In addition, multi-level interventions which include individual behaviour change, social support within the workplace and organisational travel policies may be useful for promoting commuter walking.

Between 9% and 10% of adults in England walk for their daily commute and increasing this proportion is one approach which has the potential to contribute to higher levels of physical activity. The research aimed to identify the individual, employment and psychosocial factors which influence commuter walking. Establishing the factors which influence commuter walking helps researchers and practitioners identify target groups for future interventions.

Individuals who were more likely to be commuter walkers were aged under 30, did not have a car, did not have free parking at work, were confident that they could include walking or intend to walk on a regular basis and had support from colleagues.

Individuals were less likely to walk for their commute if they perceived that they lived too far away, think walking is less convenient than using a car, did not have time to walk, needed a car for work or had always travelled the same way.

The findings come from baseline measures of 1,544 in the Walking works intervention.

Citation: Adams EJ, Esliger DW, Taylor IM, Sherar LB (2017) Individual, employment and psychosocial factors influencing walking to work: Implications for intervention design. PLoS ONE 12 (2): e0171374. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0171374

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