Effects of new motorway infrastructure on active travel in the local population: a retrospective repeat cross-sectional study in Glasgow, Scotland

Olsen, J. R. et al. (2016) Effects of new motorway infrastructure on active travel in the local population: a retrospective repeat cross-sectional study in Glasgow, Scotland. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 13, 77. (doi: 10.1186/s12966-016-0403-9) (PMID:27387206) (PMCID:PMC4936278)

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Background: Promoting active travel is an important part of increasing population physical activity, which has both physical and mental health benefits. A key benefit described by the then Scottish Government of the five-mile M74 motorway extension, which opened during June 2011 in the south of Glasgow, was that the forecast reduction in motor traffic on local streets would make these streets safer for walking and cycling, thus increasing active travel by the local population. The aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of new motorway infrastructure on the proportion of journey stages made actively (cycling or on foot) by individuals travelling in and out of the local area. Methods: Data for the periods 2009–10 and 2012–13 were extracted from the Scottish Household Survey (SHS) travel diaries, which record each journey stage made during the previous day by a representative sample of the Scottish population aged 16 and over. Each individual journey stage was assigned to one of the following study areas surrounding existing and new transport infrastructure: (1) an area surrounding the new M74 motorway extension (n = 435 (2009–10), 543 (2012–13)), (2) a comparator area surrounding an existing motorway (n = 477 (2009–10), 560 (2012–13)), and (3) a control area containing no comparable motorway infrastructure (n = 541 (2009–10), 593 (2012–13)). Multivariable, multi-level regression analysis was performed to determine any between-area differences in change in active travel over time, which might indicate an intervention effect. Reference populations were defined using two alternative definitions, (1) Glasgow City and (2) Glasgow and surrounding local authorities. Results: The results showed an increase in the proportion of journey stages using active travel in all study areas compared to both reference populations. However, there were no significant between-area differences to suggest an effect attributable the M74 motorway extension. Conclusions: There was no clear evidence that the M74 motorway extension either increased or decreased active travel in the local area. The anticipation by policy makers that reduced motorised traffic on local streets might increase journeys walked or cycled appears to have been unfounded.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The funding for the paper was NIHR Public Health Research programme (project number 11/3005/07: see http://www.nets.nihr.ac.uk/projects/phr/11300507). The work was undertaken under the auspices of the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), a UKCRC Public Health Research Centre of Excellence which is funded by the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council, the National Institute for Health Research, and the Wellcome Trust. The MRC provides a block grant to this centre - Medical Research Council [Unit Programme number MC_UP_12015/6]. The M74 study was developed by David Ogilvie, Fiona Crawford, Shona Hilton, David Humphreys, Andrew Jones, Richard Mitchell, Nanette Mutrie, Shannon Sahlqvist and Hilary Thomson, with further contributions from Louise Foley, Amy Nimegeer and Richard Prins.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hilton, Professor Shona and Nimegeer, Dr Amy and Ogilvie, David and Olsen, Dr Jonathan and Mitchell, Professor Rich and Crawford, Ms Fiona and Thomson, Dr Hilary
Authors: Olsen, J. R., Mitchell, R., Ogilvie, D., Crawford, F., Hilton, S., Humphreys, D., Jones, A., Mitchell, R., Mutrie, N., Sahlqvist, S., Thomson, H., Foley, L., Nimegeer, A., and Prins, R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Public Health
Journal Name:International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN (Online):1479-5868
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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