Beyond the bus stop: where transit users walk

J Transp Health. 2019 Sep;14:100604. doi: 10.1016/j.jth.2019.100604. Epub 2019 Aug 3.


Objectives: Extending the health benefits of public transit requires understanding how transit use affects pedestrian activity, including pedestrian activity not directly temporally or spatially related to transit use. In this study, we identified where transit users walked on transit days compared with non-transit days within and beyond 400m and 800m buffers surrounding their home and work addresses.

Methods: We used data collected from 2008-2013 in King County, Washington, from 221 non-physically-disabled adult transit users, who were equipped with an accelerometer, global positioning system (GPS), and travel diary. We assigned walking activity to the following buffer locations: less than and at least 400m or 800m from home, work, or home/work (the home and work buffers comprised the latter buffer). We used Poisson generalized estimating equations to estimate differences in minutes per day of total walking and minutes per day of non-transit-related walking on transit days compared with non-transit days in each location.

Results: We found that durations of total walking and non-transit-related walking were greater on transit days than on non-transit days in all locations studied. When considering the home neighborhood in isolation, most of the greater duration of walking occurred beyond the home neighborhood at both 400m and 800m; results were similar when considering the work neighborhood in isolation. When considering the neighborhoods jointly (i.e., by using the home/work buffer), at 400m, most of the greater duration of walking occurred beyond the home/work neighborhood. However, at 800m, most of the greater duration of walking occurred within the home/work neighborhood.

Conclusions: Transit days were associated with greater durations of total walking and non-transit related walking within and beyond the home and work neighborhoods. Accordingly, research, design, and policy strategies focused on transit use and pedestrian activity should consider locations outside the home and work neighborhoods, in addition to locations within them.