Evaluating the travel, physical activity and carbon impacts of a ‘natural experiment’ in the provision of new walking and cycling infrastructure: methods for the core module of the iConnect study


Ogilvie, D, Bull, F, Cooper, A, Rutter, H, Adams, E, Brand, C, Ghali, K., Jones, T, Mutrie, N, Powell, J, Preston, J.M., Sahlqvist, S and Song, Y (2012) Evaluating the travel, physical activity and carbon impacts of a ‘natural experiment’ in the provision of new walking and cycling infrastructure: methods for the core module of the iConnect study. BMJ Open, (2), e000694. (doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000694 ).

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Description/Abstract

Introduction Improving infrastructure to support walking and cycling is often regarded as fundamental to encouraging their widespread uptake. However, there is little evidence that specific provision of this kind has led to a significant increase in walking or cycling in practice, let alone wider impacts such as changes in overall physical activity or carbon emissions. Connect2 is a major new project that aims to promote walking and cycling in the UK by improving local pedestrian and cycle routes. It therefore provides a useful opportunity to contribute new evidence in this field by means of a natural experimental study.

Methods and analysis iConnect is an independent study that aims to integrate the perspectives of public health and transport research on the measurement and evaluation of the travel, physical activity and carbon impacts of the Connect2 programme. In this paper, the authors report the study design and methods for the iConnect core module. This comprised a cohort study of residents living within 5 km of three case study Connect2 projects in Cardiff, Kenilworth and Southampton, supported by a programme of qualitative interviews with key informants about the projects. Participants were asked to complete postal questionnaires, repeated before and after the opening of the new infrastructure, which collected data on demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, travel, car fuel purchasing and physical activity, and potential psychosocial and environmental correlates and mediators of those behaviours. In the absence of suitable no-intervention control groups, the study design drew on heterogeneity in exposure both within and between case study samples to provide for a counterfactual.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 2044-6055 (electronic)
Related URLs:
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Engineering and the Environment > Civil, Maritime and Environmental Engineering and Science > Transportation Research Group
ePrint ID: 344713
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2012 10:11
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2014 11:47
Research Funder: EPSRC
Projects:
Measuring and Evaluating the Travel, Physical Activity and Carbon Impacts of Connect2
Funded by: EPSRC (EP/G00059X/1)
Led by: Jonathan Mark Preston
5 May 2008 to 4 November 2013
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/344713

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