Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 98, Issue 4, pp 259–264 | Cite as

By Your Own Two Feet

Factors Associated with Active Transportation in Canada
  • Gregory P. Butler
  • Heather M. Orpana
  • Alexander J. Wiens



The purpose of this study is to examine socio-demographic, geographic and physical activity correlates of walking and cycling for non-leisure purposes, i.e., to work, school, or errands, in Canada.


Cross-sectional data from the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) 2003 (n = 127,610) were analyzed using logistic regression to identify factors associated with active transportation. The dependent variables were walking 6+ hours per week and any cycling per week. Independent variables were based on age; marital, education, working and immigrant status; income; geographic location; smoking; and other physical activity.


Age and income were associated with both walking and cycling, as was geographic location and other physical activity. The results demonstrated that, while similar, walking and cycling are associated with different factors, and that socio-demographic, geographic and health behaviour variables must be taken into consideration when modelling these transportation modes.


Although walking and cycling are relatively easy means to incorporate physical activity in daily life, these results suggest that it is the young and the physically active who engage in them. This research points to a need to address barriers among those who could benefit the most from increased use of both modes of travel.

MeSH terms

Physical activity urban renewal transportation 



Cette étude menée au Canada porte sur les facteurs sociodémographiques, géographiques et d’activité physique associés à la marche et à l’usage de la bicyclette autrement que pour les loisirs (p. ex. pour se rendre au travail ou à l’école ou pour faire ses courses).


Nous avons analysé par régression logistique des données transversales tirées de l’Enquête sur la santé dans les collectivités canadiennes de 2003 (n=127 610) afin de cerner les facteurs associés au transport actif. Les variables dépendantes étaient le fait de marcher six heures et plus par semaine et l’usage de la bicyclette au moins une fois par semaine (durée non spécifiée). Les variables indépendantes étaient l’âge, l’état matrimonial, l’instruction, la situation professionnelle, le statut d’immigrant, le revenu, l’emplacement géographique, le tabagisme et les autres formes d’activité physique.


L’âge et le revenu étaient associés à la marche et à la bicyclette, tout comme l’emplacement géographique et les autres formes d’activité physique. Les résultats obtenus, très semblables pour la marche et pour la bicyclette, montrent cependant que ces deux activités sont associées à des facteurs différents et qu’il faut tenir compte des variables sociodémographiques, géographiques et d’activité physique lorsqu’on élabore des modèles pour ces deux moyens de transport.


La marche et la bicyclette sont deux moyens relativement faciles d’intégrer l’activité physique au quotidien, mais les résultats obtenus donnent à penser que ce sont surtout les jeunes et les personnes actives qui les pratiquent. Il faudrait étudier les obstacles qui empêchent les personnes qui en profiteraient le plus d’utiliser davantage ces deux moyens de transport.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregory P. Butler
    • 1
  • Heather M. Orpana
    • 2
  • Alexander J. Wiens
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for Health PromotionPublic Health Agency of CanadaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Health Analysis and Measurement GroupStatistics CanadaOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Dept. of MathematicsUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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