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TransMilenio, a Scalable Bus Rapid Transit System for Promoting Physical Activity

Abstract

Transport systems can play an important role in increasing physical activity (PA). Bogotá has been recognized for its bus rapid transit (BRT) system, TransMilenio (TM). To date, BRTs have been implemented in over 160 cities worldwide. The aim of this study was to assess the association between PA and the use of TM among adults in Bogotá. The study consists of a cross-sectional study conducted from 2010 to 2011 with 1000 adults. PA was measured using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. In a subsample of 250 adults, PA was objectively measured using ActiGraph accelerometers. Analyses were conducted using multilevel logistic regression models. The use of TM was associated with meeting moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA). TM users were more likely to complete an average of >22 min a day of MVPA (odds ratio [OR] = 3.1, confidence interval [CI] = 95 % 1.4–7.1) and to walk for transportation for ≥150 min per week (OR = 1.5; CI = 95 % 1.1–2.0). The use of TM was associated with 12 or more minutes of MVPA (95 % CI 4.5–19.4, p < 0.0001). Associations between meeting PA recommendations and use of TM did not differ by socioeconomic status (p value = 0.106) or sex (p value = 0.288). The use of TM is a promising strategy for enhancing public health efforts to reduce physical inactivity through walking for transport. Given the expansion of BRTs, these results could inform the development of transport PA programs in low- to high-income countries.

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Acknowledgments

The authors of the research would like to acknowledge El Centro Nacional de Consultoría (Bogotá, Colombia) for its collaboration in data collection and Andrea Ramirez for valuable comments.

The study was funded by the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Basic and Applied Complexity (CeiBA), Bogotá, Colombia, Colciencias grant 519 2010, Fogarty, and a grant from the sustainable mobility research projects at the U'niversidad de los Andes in Bogotá. The “Programa nacional de formación doctoral Francisco Jose de Caldas” from Colciencias (Convocatorias 511-2010 and 567-2012) funded the work of Jose D. Meisel and Pablo D. Lemoine.

Author information

Correspondence to Olga L. Sarmiento.

Ethics declarations

All of the protocols and questionnaires were reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá.

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Lemoine, P.D., Sarmiento, O.L., Pinzón, J.D. et al. TransMilenio, a Scalable Bus Rapid Transit System for Promoting Physical Activity. J Urban Health 93, 256–270 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11524-015-0019-4

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Keywords

  • Physical activity
  • Walking
  • Transportation
  • Bus rapid transit