TRB Special Report: Does the Built Environment Influence Physical Activity? Examining the Evidence

Empirical evidence links the built environment and physical activity, but few studies have proved capable of demonstrating a causal relationship. A joint study committee of the Transportation Research Board and the Institute of Medicine has recommended research strategies to gain practical guidance on cost-beneficial investments and changes in the built environment that would encourage increased levels of physical activity. This article summarizes the major findings of the study committee, as well as the committee's recommendations, which are published in TRB Special Report 282. The committee urges a continuing and well-supported research effort. Priorities for research include interdisciplinary approaches and international collaboration; more complete conceptual models; better research designs; and more detailed examination and matching of specific characteristics of the built environment with different types of physical activity. Other recommendations call for expanding national public health and travel surveys to provide more detailed information about the location of physical activity and travel; evaluating changes to the built environment as natural experiments to be studied for their impacts on physical activity; and emphasizing interdisciplinary education programs at universities.

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    • Distribution, posting, or copying of this PDF is strictly prohibited without written permission of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials in this PDF are copyrighted by the National Academy of Sciences. Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved
  • Authors:
    • Humphrey, Nancy P
  • Publication Date: 2005-3


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Photos;
  • Pagination: pp 31-33
  • Serial:
    • TR News
    • Issue Number: 237
    • Publisher: Transportation Research Board
    • ISSN: 0738-6826
  • Publication flags:

    Open Access (libre)

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01000626
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Jun 2 2005 9:50AM