, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 325–338 | Cite as

Examining the relationship between active travel, weather, and the built environment: a multilevel approach using a GPS-enhanced dataset

  • Andrew F. Clark
  • Darren M. Scott
  • Nikolaos Yiannakoulias


This study examines how the built environment and weather conditions influence the use of walking as a mode of transport. The Halifax Regional Municipality in Nova Scotia, Canada is the study area for this work. Data are derived from three sources: a socio-demographic questionnaire and a GPS-enhanced prompted recall time-use diary collected between April 2007 and May 2008 as part of the Halifax Space-Time Activity Research project, a daily meteorological summary from Environment Canada, and a comprehensive GIS dataset from the regional municipality. Two binary logit multilevel models are estimated to examine how the propensity to use walking is influenced by the built environment and weather while controlling for socio-demographic characteristics. The built environment is measured via five attributes in one model and a walkability index (derived from the five attributes) in the other. Weather conditions are shown to affect walking use in both models. Although the walkability index is significant, the results demonstrate that this significance is driven by specific attributes of the built environment—in the case of this study, population density and to a lesser extent, pedestrian infrastructure.


Active travel Built environment GIS Walking Walkability Index Weather 



We would like to thank three anonymous reviewers for providing insightful comments to improve our paper. The research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Grant number 410-2008-0820).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew F. Clark
    • 1
  • Darren M. Scott
    • 1
  • Nikolaos Yiannakoulias
    • 2
  1. 1.TransLAB (Transportation Research Lab)School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  2. 2.School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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