Background: New transport infrastructure may help promote active travel, thereby contributing to increasing overall physical activity and population health gain. In 2011 a guided busway with a path for walking and cycling was opened in Cambridgeshire, UK. This paper investigates the predictors of walking, cycling and bus use on the busway.
Methods: Cross-sectional analyses of the final questionnaire wave (2012) of the Commuting and Health in Cambridge cohort study following the opening of the busway. Participants were 453 adult commuters who had not moved home or workplace. Busway use was self-reported and proximity calculated using GIS. Separate multivariable logistic regression models were used to assess predictors of walking, cycling and bus use on the busway.
Results: Exposure to the intervention (proximity: the negative square root of the distance from home to busway in kilometres) increased the odds of use for cycling (OR 2.18; 95% CI 1.58 to 3.00), bus travel (OR 1.53, 95% CI 1.15 to 2.02) and walking (OR 1.34; 95% CI 1.05 to 1.70). The effect of exposure was strengthened in towns for bus use, and in towns and villages for walking, compared with urban areas. Men were more likely than women to have cycled on the busway, whereas individual socioeconomic characteristics did not predict bus use or walking.
Conclusion: New high-quality transport infrastructure attracts users, determined by geographical exposure and spatial contextual factors such as settlement size and availability of parking at work. Future longitudinal analyses will determine effects on overall travel and physical activity behaviour change.
Keywords: Bus use; Cycling; Intervention; Socioeconomic characteristics; Transport infrastructure; Walking.