Policies to Promote Active Travel: Evidence from Reviews of the Literature
- 391 Downloads
Purpose of review
While many levels of government recognize that walking and cycling (active travel) are critical to healthy cities, a continued challenge is to identify and prioritize strategies that will increase walking and cycling for transportation. We review evidence on policies that can increase active travel.
The reviews included here conclude that policies related to active travel may operate at various levels of the socio-ecological framework, including society, cities, routes or individuals. The provision of convenient, safe and connected walking and cycling infrastructure is at the core of promoting active travel, but policies may work best when implemented in comprehensive packages.
There is strong evidence that active travel can result in substantial health benefits. However, there remains considerable uncertainty about the exact effects of specific policies on walking or cycling rates or safety. Further research is needed to quantify the impact of specific policies or packages of policies, especially across different settings or for different population segments.
KeywordsActive travel Policy Bicycle Walking Bicycling
This manuscript is based on a research brief prepared by the authors for Active Living Research, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. We would like to acknowledge Prabhu Ponkshe, Jim Sallis, David R. Bassett, Jr., Sean Co, Ruth L. Steiner and other Robert Wood Johnson staff for their valuable feedback and contributions as part of the research brief. We also acknowledge Kyle Lukacs for his help collecting and organizing the literature and thank the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech for financially supporting Lukacs’ work. We also acknowledge Moreno Zanotto for assistance with manuscript preparation.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Meghan Winters, Thomas Götschi and Ralph Buehler declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
- 1.Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee. Physical activity guidelines advisory committee report, 2008. Washington, DC; 2008.Google Scholar
- 10.Teschke K, Reynolds CCO, Ries FJ, Gouge B, Winters M. Bicycling: health risk or benefit? UBC Med J. 2012;3:6–11.Google Scholar
- 11.FHWA. Our nation’s travel. Analysis of the 2009 NHTS. Washington, DC; 2010.Google Scholar
- 12.Statistics Canada. 2011 National Household Survey. In: Stat. Canada Cat. no. 99–012-X2011064. 2013. http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/dp-pd/index-eng.cfm. Accessed 27 Feb 2017.
- 16.Hiatt R. An alternative to auto LOS for transportation impact analysis. Transp. Res. Board 85th Annu. Meet. 2006.Google Scholar
- 17.Shoup DC. The high cost of free parking. Updated ed. Chicago, IL: Planners Press, American Planning Association; 2011.Google Scholar
- 18.FHWA. Funding for highways and disposition of highway-user revenues, all units of government, 2012, Table HF 10. Federal Highway Association, US Dep. Transp. 2014.Google Scholar
- 19.Buehler R, Gotschi T, Winters M. Moving toward active transportation: how policies can encourage walking and bicycling. Active Living Research Brief. Released January 2016. http://activelivingresearch.org/ActiveTravelreview.
- 20.Krizek K, Forsyth A, Baum L. Walking and cycling international literature review. Victoria Dep. Transp. Melbourne, Aust; 2009.Google Scholar
- 25.•• Buehler R, Dill J. Bikeway networks: a review of effects on cycling. Transp Rev. 2015;1647:1–19. Reviews evidence on the connection between cycling levels and different types of bikeway infrastructure—ranging from cycling in the road with traffic to separated bike paths Google Scholar
- 31.Hosking J, Macmillan A, Connor J, Bullen C, Ameratunga S. Organisational travel plans for improving health. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;3:CD005575.Google Scholar
- 34.Ogilvie D, Foster CE, Rothnie H, Cavill N, Hamilton V, Fitzsimons CF, et al. Interventions to promote walking: systematic review. BMJ. 2007;334:–1204.Google Scholar
- 39.Meddin R, DeMaio P. The bike-sharing world map. 2016. http://www.bikesharingmap.com/. Accessed 27 Feb 2017.
- 40.Shaheen S, Martin E, Cohen A, Finson R. Public bikesharing in North America: early operator and user understanding. 2012.Google Scholar
- 45.Alliance for Biking & Walking. Bicycling and walking in the United States: 2016 benchmarking report; 2016.Google Scholar
- 49.•• Götschi T, Garrard J, Giles-Corti B. Cycling as a part of daily life: a review of health perspectives. Transp Rev. 2016;36:45–71. This study reviews the most relevant links between cycling and health and presents research approaches and needs, many of which apply equally to walking CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 50.Cavill N, Muller L, Mulhall C, Harold K, Kennedy A, Hillsdon M, et al. Cycling demonstration towns: surveys of cycling and physical activity 2006 to 2009. London, Engl Cycl Engl. 2009.Google Scholar
- 51.Litman T. Quantifying the benefits of nonmotorized transportation for achieving mobility management objectives. Transp Res Rec. 2004;1441:134–40.Google Scholar