Factors of the physical environment associated with walking and bicycling

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2004 Apr;36(4):725-30. doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000121955.03461.0a.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify factors of the physical environment that may influence time spent on walking and bicycling.

Methods: Demographic factors and time spent on walking and bicycling (during leisure time and for commuting purposes) were assessed with a self-administered questionnaire. GIS databases were used to objectively measure the total square area of green space and recreational space (woods, parks, sport grounds, allotments for vegetable gardens, and grounds for day trips) in a circle around the postal code of a respondent with a radius of 300 and 500 m. Multilevel regression analysis was used to study the association between walking and bicycling on the one hand, and green and recreational space on the other hand. Analyses were adjusted for gender, age, and educational level.

Results: In a neighborhood defined as a circle with a 300-m radius, the square area of sport grounds was associated with bicycling in general and the square area of parks was associated with bicycling for commuting purposes. It is, however, very likely that these results reflect the association of living in the outskirts of town and time spent on bicycling.

Conclusion: The present study showed green and recreational space, specifically sport grounds and parks, to be associated with time spent on bicycling.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bicycling / psychology*
  • Environment Design*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Netherlands
  • Residence Characteristics / classification*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Walking / psychology*