How Many Steps Do You Have in Reserve? Thoughts and Measures About a Healthier Way to Travel

The aim of this study was to estimate the benefits that people could achieve by trading their car for a nonmotorized mode of travel, such as walking, to make their short daily trips. For this purpose, detailed information on travel behavior gathered through large-scale travel surveys conducted in the greater Montreal, Quebec, Canada, area was used. The travel behavior observed in recent travel surveys was analyzed to estimate the number of short trips for various population segments. These surveys gathered travel and sociodemographic information for approximately 5% of the population. Data from the 2003 survey revealed that more than 7 million motorized trips were made during a typical weekday; 862,000 (11.7%) were shorter than 1.6 km (1 mi). With the appropriate speed and stride for each population segment, these motorized kilometers were converted into numbers of steps to appraise the potential physical activity benefits of making these short trips by foot instead of by a motorized mode. The results show that about 837,000 motorized kilometers could be converted into almost 1,156 million steps every day. Overall, 12.5% of the population had steps in reserve, an average of 2,660 steps per person. Such a shift in mode choice could help some people meet their required physical activity volumes through their daily travel patterns while helping to save energy, reduce pollution, and mitigate traffic congestion.


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  • Accession Number: 01044600
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780309104289
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Feb 8 2007 4:38PM