Institute for Health & Ageing

Promoting positive ageing and an age friendly society

Prevalence and correlates of walkable short car trips

Institute for Health and Ageing, Australian Catholic UniversityAn Australian study has examined the prevalence and correlates of short car trips that can be walked. The study, which has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Transport & Health, was led by Dr Rachel Cole (University of the Sunshine Coast) with co-authors from IHA, Professors Takemi Sugiyama and Gavin Turrell, Dr Javad Koohsari. Using an Australian household travel survey and the age/gender-specific distance thresholds, the researchers found that 7% of car trips were short enough to be walked. Such short car trips were common among middle-to-older aged adults and in areas that were high in population density and socio-economically disadvantaged. Initiatives to replace car use with walking may be particularly effective in high density areas where more local destinations are available nearby. Barriers that discourage walking, such as or poor quality footpaths and concerns about crime, safety and traffic, need to be addressed to facilitate walking among older adults and in disadvantaged areas. Converting car trips to walking is beneficial to population health as well as to environmental sustainability. The urban design, planning, transport, and public health sectors need to work together to develop effective policies to facilitate a shift from sedentary to active modes of transport.

Read the paper here.

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