Increasing Walking in the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport: The Walk to Fly Study

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Abstract

Objectives

To test the effectiveness of a point-of-decision intervention to prompt walking, versus motorized transport, in a large metropolitan airport.

Methods

We installed point-of-decision prompt signage at 4 locations in the airport transportation mall at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (Atlanta, GA) at the connecting corridor between airport concourses. Six ceiling-mounted infrared sensors counted travelers entering and exiting the study location. We collected traveler counts from June 2013 to May 2016 when construction was present and absent (preintervention period: June 2013-September 2014; postintervention period: September 2014-May 2016). We used a model that incorporated weekly walking variation to estimate the intervention effect on walking.

Results

There was an 11.0% to 16.7% relative increase in walking in the absence of airport construction where 580 to 810 more travelers per day chose to walk. Through May 2016, travelers completed 390 000 additional walking trips.

Conclusions

The Walk to Fly study demonstrated a significant and sustained increase in the number of airport travelers choosing to walk. Providing signage about options to walk in busy locations where reasonable walking options are available may improve population levels of physical activity and therefore improve public health.

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