Walking associated with public transit: moving toward increased physical activity in the United States

Am J Public Health. 2013 Mar;103(3):536-42. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300912. Epub 2013 Jan 17.


Objectives: We assessed changes in transit-associated walking in the United States from 2001 to 2009 and documented their importance to public health.

Methods: We examined transit walk times using the National Household Travel Survey, a telephone survey administered by the US Department of Transportation to examine travel behavior in the United States.

Results: People are more likely to transit walk if they are from lower income households, are non-White, and live in large urban areas with access to rail systems. Transit walkers in large urban areas with a rail system were 72% more likely to transit walk 30 minutes or more per day than were those without a rail system. From 2001 to 2009, the estimated number of transit walkers rose from 7.5 million to 9.6 million (a 28% increase); those whose transit-associated walking time was 30 minutes or more increased from approximately 2.6 million to 3.4 million (a 31% increase).

Conclusions: Transit walking contributes to meeting physical activity recommendations. Study results may contribute to transportation-related health impact assessment studies evaluating the impact of proposed transit systems on physical activity, potentially influencing transportation planning decisions.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Public Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Transportation / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Walking / statistics & numerical data*