University of Twente Student Theses


Perceived physical environmental factors related to walking and cycling for transport in rural and urban areas in the Netherlands

Bourgondiën, M. (2011) Perceived physical environmental factors related to walking and cycling for transport in rural and urban areas in the Netherlands.

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Abstract:Background: The transport related physical activity levels of people have steadily declined, while the health benefits from active modes of transport are substantial. Coupled with the negative impact of high volumes of motorized transportation on environmental air quality, this has led to increased interest in understanding the determinants of transport related physical activity. The aim of this study was to investigate the association of the perceived physical environment with bicycling and walking for transport for different areas (rural, suburban and urban), in order to promote physical activity in a planned and systematic way. Methods: Participants were surveyed by e-mail. The study included 803 inhabitants of the Netherlands, addressing walking and cycling behavior and associated perceived physical environmental, personal and social environmental factors. Logistic regression analyses were used to examine the associations between physical environmental variables and the two outcomes, stratified for perceived degree of urbanization. Furthermore it was investigated to what extent this relationship is moderated by age and gender. Results: Respondents who averaged 42 years of age reported 170 min/week cycling and 93 min/week walking for transportation. Significantly more people in strong urban areas than in rural areas cycled a lot for transport purposes. No significant differences between location and walking for transport were found. Aesthetics was associated with higher levels of cycling for transport for people living in strong urban locations. Besides, functionality and safety appeared to be important influences of higher levels of cycling for people living in rural locations, in models that controlled for demographic variables, self efficacy and social support. No associations were found with walking for transport. Conclusions: Different physical environmental variables were associated with cycling for transport, but not with walking for transport. These associations differed between people living in rural, suburban and strong urban settings. Enhancing these environmental attributes may be effective in promoting resident’s transport-related physical activity.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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