Active Living Strategy #11: Improve Access to Public Transportation

Our Healthier Communities Initiatives are built on the concept that local communities can work together to give all community members healthy choices and support the pursuit of healthy lifestyles.  More than 160 Ys are working in collaboration with community leaders to make changes in policies and the physical surroundings in those communities so that healthy living is within reach for individuals of all ages and backgrounds.




Active Living Strategy #11: Improve Access to Public Transportation

The use of public transportation is one way to achieve the recommended level of daily physical activity for youth and adults. Improving access to public transportation is likely to increase opportunities for physical activity.

 

Improving access to public transportation is likely to increase opportunities for physical activity by enabling people to walk to and from the transit stop. This can help populations at high risk for obesity, particularly underserved populations, achieve the recommended level of daily physical activity. It has been shown that commuters who used a light rail system to travel to/from work had a lower risk of becoming obese. Another study found that university students with increased access to public transportation, through a free transit pass from the university, increased their use of public transportation for school and nonschool trips. Increased use of public transportation also reduces individual vehicle trips and related emission, potentially magnifying the positive impact on health.




References

  1. Besser, L.M., & Dannenberg, A.L. (2005). Walking to public transit: Steps to help meet physical activity recommendations. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 29(4), 273–280.
  2. Brown, B., & Werner, C. (2007). A new rail stop-tracking moderate physical activity bouts and ridership. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 33(4), 306–309.
  3. MacDonald, J.M., Stokes, R.J., Cohen, D.A., Kofner, A., & Ridgeway, G.K. (2010). The effect of light rail transit on body mass index and physical activity. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 39(2), 105–112.
  4. Meyer, J., & Beimborn, E. (1996). Evaluation of an innovative transit pass program: the UPASS. A Report to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

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