Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from IJBNPA and BioMed Central.

Open Access Short paper

Assessing the impact of road traffic on cycling for leisure and cycling to work

Charlie E Foster1*, Jenna R Panter2 and Nicholas J Wareham2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health, University of Oxford, UK

2 Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit and Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), Institute of Public Health, Cambridge, UK

For all author emails, please log on.

International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2011, 8:61  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-8-61

Published: 10 June 2011

Abstract

Background

To explore the relationship between leisure and commuter cycling with objectively measured levels of road traffic and whether any relationship was affected by traffic levels directly outside of home or in local neighbourhood.

Findings

We conducted a secondary analysis of data from the UK European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC) Norfolk cohort in 2009. We used a geographical information system (GIS) and gender specific multivariate models to relate 13 927 participants' reported levels of cycling with an index of road traffic volume (Road Traffic Volume Index Score - RTVIS). RTVIS were calculated around each participants home, using four distance based buffers, (0.5 km, 1 km, 2 km and 3.2 km). Models were adjusted for age, social status, education, car access and deprivation. Both genders had similar decreases in leisure cycling as traffic volumes increased at greater distances from home (OR 0.42, (95% CI 0.32-0.52, p < 0.001) for women and OR 0.41, (95% CI 0.33-0.50, p < 0.001) for men in the highest quartile at 3.2 km). There was no effect of traffic volumes at any distance on commuter cycling.

Conclusions

Traffic volumes appear to have greater impact on leisure cycling than commuter cycling. Future research should investigate the importance of traffic on different types of cycling and include psychosocial correlates.

Keywords:
Cycling; traffic; GIS