Daily walking among commuters: A cross-sectional study of associations with residential, work, and regional accessibility in Melbourne, Australia (2012–2014)

Alison Barr, Koen Simons, Suzanne Mavoa, Hannah Badland, Billie Giles-Corti, Jan Scheurer, Elizabeth Korevaar, Josh Stewart, Rebecca Bentley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Most research on walking for transport has focused on the walkability of residential neighborhoods, overlooking the contribution of places of work/study and the ease with which destinations outside the immediate neighborhood can be accessed, referred to as regional accessibility. OBJECTIVES: We aimed to examine if local accessibility/walkability around place of work/study and regional accessibility are independently and interactively associated with walking. METHODS: A sample of 4,913 adult commuters was derived from a household travel survey in Melbourne, Australia (2012–2014). Local accessibility was measured as the availability of destinations within an 800-m pedestrian network from homes and places of work/education using a local living index [LLI; 0–3 (low), 4–6, 7–9, and 10–12 (high) destinations]. Regional accessibility was estimated using employment opportunity, commute travel time by mode, and public transport accessibility. Every individual’s potential minutes of walking for each level of exposure (observed and counter to fact) were predicted using multivariable regression models including confounders and interaction terms. For each contrast of exposure levels of interest, the corresponding within-individual differences in predicted walking were averaged across individuals to estimate marginal effects. RESULTS: High LLI at home and work/education was associated with more minutes walking than low LLI by 3.9 [95% confidence interval (CI): 2.3, 5.5] and 8.3 (95% CI: 7.3, 9.3) min, respectively, in mutually adjusted models. Across regional accessibility measures, an independent association with walking and an interactive association with LLI at work/education was observed. To take one example, the regional accessibility measure of “Jobs within 30 min by public transport” was associated with 4.3 (95% CI: 2.9, 5.7) more mins walking for high (≥30,000 jobs) compared with low (<4,000 jobs) accessibility in adjusted models. The estimated difference for high vs. low LLI (work/education) (among those with low regional acces-sibility) was 3.6 min (95% CI: 2.3, 4.8), while the difference for high vs. low regional accessibility (among those with low LLI) was negligible (−0:01; 95% CI: −1:2, 1.2). However, the combined effect estimate for high LLI and high regional accessibility, compared with low on both, was 12.8 min (95% CI: 11.1, 14.5), or 9.3 (95% CI: 6.7, 11.8) min/d walking more than expected based on the separate effect estimates. CONCLUSIONS: High local living (work/education) and regional accessibility, regardless of the regional accessibility measure used, are positively associated with physical activity. High exposure to both is associated with greater benefit than exposure to one or the other alone. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP3395.

Original languageEnglish
Article number097004
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019
Externally publishedYes


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