Testing the theory underlying the success of point-of-choice prompts: A multi-component stair climbing intervention

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Abstract

Objectives:

Point-of-choice prompts consistently increase stair climbing in public access settings. This study investigated the single and combined effects of a volitional and motivational component of a stair climbing intervention to test the theory underlying the success of point-of-choice prompts.

Design:

Quasi-experimental, interrupted time series cross-over design.

Methods:

Ascending stair/escalator choices were observed in a UK tram station (n = 38,187). Baseline observations (2 weeks; stage 1) preceded a 2-week point-of-choice prompt positioned alone (stage 2) followed by an additional message positioned at the top of each climb (6 weeks; stage 3). Four weeks after message removal, another baseline (2 weeks; stage 4) preceded installation of the intervention components in reverse order. Thus, the message positioned alone at the top of each climb (4 weeks, stage 5) was supplemented with the point-of-choice prompt (2 weeks, stage 6). Logistic regression analyses of stair/escalator choice included the independent variables of intervention components, gender, time of morning and pedestrian traffic volume.

Results:

There was no change in stair climbing percentages when only one intervention component was used, i.e. only the point-of-choice or the message at the top of each climb. In contrast, stair climbing increased when both components of the intervention were installed. Additionally, men took the stairs more than women and stair climbing was more common earlier in the morning and at higher pedestrian traffic volumes.

Conclusions:

A motivational component targeting intentions increased the effectiveness of a volitional point-of-choice prompt for stair climbing in a setting where choice of the stairs incurred a time penalty for pedestrians due to the site layout.

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