Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan, GIH

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Pedestrians' perceptions of route environments in relation to deterring or facilitating walking
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH, Department of Physical Activity and Health. (Rörelse, hälsa och miljö)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1574-4809
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH, Department of Physical Activity and Health. (Rörelse, hälsa och miljö)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8771-8431
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH, Department of Physical Activity and Health. (Rörelse, hälsa och miljö)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3547-425X
2023 (English)In: Frontiers In Public Health, ISSN 2296-2565, Vol. 10, article id 1012222Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background

Every walk takes place in a route environment, and it can play an important role in deterring or facilitating walking, and will always affect the environmental unwell – wellbeing of pedestrians. The aim of this study is to illuminate which the important route environmental variables are in this respect. The focus is therefore on pedestrians´ perceptions of route environmental variables and how they relate to overall appraisals of route environments as hindering – stimulating for walking and unsafe – safe for reasons of traffic. 

 

Methods

Commuting pedestrians in the inner urban area of Stockholm, Sweden (n = 294, 49.5 ± 10.4 years, 77% women), were recruited via advertisements. They evaluated their own commuting route environments using a self-report tool, the Active Commuting Route Environment Scale (ACRES). Correlation, multiple regression, and mediation analyses were used to study the relationships between the variables and the outcome variables.

 

Results

Aesthetics and greenery appear to strongly stimulate walking, whereas noise, a proxy for motorized traffic, hinders it. Furthermore, aesthetics is positively related to traffic safety, whereas conflicts have the opposite role. Conflicts is an intermediate outcome, representing several basic environmental variables, whereof some were directly and negatively related to unsafe – safe traffic.

 

Conclusion 

Route environmental variables appear to be potent factors in deterring or facilitating walking. This knowledge is of importance for policymakers and urban planners when designing route environments with the aim of attracting new pedestrians, and simultaneously stimulating those who already walk to keep on.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers Media S.A., 2023. Vol. 10, article id 1012222
Keywords [en]
walking, route environment, perceptions, aesthetics, greenery, noise, conflicts, speed, environmental unwellbeing - wellbeing
National Category
Transport Systems and Logistics Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Social Sciences/Humanities
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-7372DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.1012222ISI: 001011155000001PubMedID: 37346457OAI: oai:DiVA.org:gih-7372DiVA, id: diva2:1708257
Projects
FAAP
Funder
Swedish Transport Administration, TRV 2017/63917-6522Available from: 2022-11-03 Created: 2022-11-03 Last updated: 2024-01-31
In thesis
1. Exploring Perceptions of Route Environments in Relation to Walking
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring Perceptions of Route Environments in Relation to Walking
2024 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: Every walk takes place in a route environment, which can play an important role in deterring or facilitating walking. The focus of this thesis is on the perceptions of environmental variables, and how they relate to appraisals of route environments as hindering – stimulating for walking and unsafe – safe for reasons of traffic, in two metropolitan environments. Another focus is to expand the state of knowledge concerning the criterion-related validity of the Active Commuting Route Environment Scale (ACRES).

Methods: Commuting pedestrians in Greater Stockholm, Sweden, were recruited via advertisements. From the inner urban area there were 294 participants (77% women), aged 49.5 years, and from the suburban areas there were 233 participants (82% women), aged 50.0 years. 77 individuals walked in both areas. The participants evaluated their commuting route environments using the ACRES. Correlation, multiple regression, and mediation analyses were used to explore the relationships between the variables. Comparisons of environmental ratings between groups and settings were performed with t-tests. Studies 1 and 2 focused on the inner urban area and studies 3 and 4 on the suburban areas. Studies 1 and 3 focused exclusively on the relations between the four motorized traffic variables (vehicle speed, vehicle flow, noise, and exhaust fumes), and their relations to the outcome variables (hinders – stimulates walking and unsafe – safe traffic). Studies 2 and 4 utilised proxies from studies 1 and 3 and combined them with other environmental variables to further the understanding of route environmental variables in relation to walking.

Results: In both areas, aesthetics and greenery were positively related to stimulating walking, whereas noise, a proxy for motorized traffic, was negatively related. Aesthetics was also positively related to unsafe – safe traffic in the inner urban area, whereas greenery had the corresponding role in suburbia. Another important finding was that greenery also influenced aesthetics positively in both areas. Thus, greenery had both a direct and an indirect positive effect. On the other hand, noise influenced aesthetics negatively in the inner urban area, whereas vehicle flow had the corresponding role in suburbia. A number of variables conjointly influenced the outcome unsafe – safe traffic negatively in both areas (speeds of motor vehicles, noise, conflicts, congestion: pedestrians, red lights, and course of the route). The route environment profiles differed distinctly between the two areas.

Conclusions: Several route environmental variables appear to be particularly influential in relation to pedestrian commuting, e.g., aesthetics, greenery, and noise. An important finding is that both positive and negative interactions, between certain predictor variables, were disclosed. The contrasting route environment profiles in the different settings strengthen the criterion-related validity of the ACRES. The findings expands the state of knowledge concerning the relations between the environment and walking. If implemented, these findings can influence public health positively.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan, GIH, 2024. p. 113 s.
Series
Avhandlingsserie för Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan ; 33
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Medicine/Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-8074 (URN)978-91-988127-3-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2024-03-22, Aulan, Lidingövägen 1, Stockholm, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2024-01-31 Created: 2024-01-31 Last updated: 2024-03-25Bibliographically approved

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Andersson, DanWahlgren, LinaSchantz, Peter

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