Demographic factors, workplace factors and active transportation use in the USA: a secondary analysis of 2009 NHTS data

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While active transportation has health, economic and environmental benefits, participation within the USA is low. The purpose of this study is to examine relationships of demographic and workplace factors with health-enhancing active transportation and commuting.


Participants in the 2009 National Household Travel Survey reported demographics, workplace factors (time/distance to work, flextime availability, option to work from home and work start time) and active transportation (for any purpose) or commuting (to and from work, workers only) as walking or biking (≥10 min bouts only). Multiple logistic regression examined cross-sectional relationships between demographics and workplace factors with active transportation and commuting.


Among 152 573 participants, active transportation was reported by 1.11% by biking and 11.74% by walking. Among 111 808 working participants, active commuting was reported by 0.80% by biking and 2.76% by walking. Increased odds (p<0.05) of active commuting and transportation were associated with younger age, lower income, urban dwelling, and the highest and lowest education categories. Males had greater odds of commuting and transporting by bike but decreased odds of walk transporting. Inconsistent patterns were observed by race, but whites had greater odds of any biking (p<0.05). Odds of active commuting were higher with a flexible schedule (p<0.001), the option to work from home (p<0.05), shorter time and distance to work (both p<0.001), and work arrival time between 11:00 and 15:59 (walking only, p=0.001).


Active transportation differed across demographic and workplace factors. These relationships could inform infrastructure policy decisions and workplace wellness programming targeting increased active transportation.

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