Physical activity associated with public transport use-a review and modelling of potential benefits

Chris Rissel, Nada Curac, Mark Greenaway, Adrian Bauman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

276 Citations (Scopus)
38 Downloads (Pure)


Active travel, particularly walking and cycling, has been recommended because of the health benefits associated with increased physical activity. Use of public transport generally involves some walking to bus stops or train stations. This paper is a systematic review of how much time is spent in physical activity among adults using public transport. It also explores the potential effect on the population level of physical activity if inactive adults in NSW, Australia, increased their walking through increased use of public transport. Of 1,733 articles, 27 met the search criteria, and nine reported on absolute measures of physical activity associated with public transport. A further 18 papers reported on factors associated with physical activity as part of public transport use. A range of 8-33 additional minutes of walking was identified from this systematic search as being attributable to public transport use. Using "bootstrapping" statistical modelling, if 20% of all inactive adults increased their walking by only 16 minutes a day for five days a week, we predict there would be a substantial 6.97% increase in the proportion of the adult population considered "sufficiently active". More minutes walked per day, or a greater uptake of public transport by inactive adults would likely lead to significantly greater increases in the adult population considered sufficiently active.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2454-2478
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Mass transit
  • Physical activity
  • Public transport
  • Walking


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