Social Ecological Intervention to Promote Active Commuting to Work
The Finns are evermore heavier and less physically fit. Both facts are connected e.g. to the increased risk for cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes accounting for massive public health costs. Walking and cycling to work is a natural way of increasing lifestyle activity in working population. It can diminish sedentary behavior which has shown to be independent risk factor for health.
In addition to health impacts, active commuting to work may have many other benefits related to traffic noise, safety and costs as well as to air quality. It is also accessible to most people – to those too, who do not have money, time, place or interest for recreational physical activity.
This social ecological intervention study to promote active commuting to work is a cluster-randomized, controlled trial aiming to promote active commuting to work with environmental, social and behavioral strategies in wide workplace areas in Tampere, Finland.
The study was conducted in Hatanpää and Hervanta workplace including hundreds of workplaces. Sixteen workplaces located in the areas were recruited in the fall of 2014 and the winter of 2015. Baseline information was collected about the workplaces, employees (questionnaires, accelerometers, GPS) and environment (traffic calculations and audit system).
In the first phase of the study a high quality pathway across the Hatanpää workplace area was built by the City of Tampere in 2015–2016. Its’ effects on walking and cycling were assessed with the same measures as at baseline in the fall of 2016.
In the second phase, the workplaces were randomized to intervention and control groups. Each intervention workplace developed a plan to promote active commuting to work with the research group. The plan was executed in the fall 2016 and the effects were assessed in the spring of 2017.
The workplaces randomized to the control group in the second phase of the study participated only in data collection. However they will develop a plan to promote active commuting to work same way as the intervention group afterwards in the end of 2017.
Findings will be reported in 2017–2018.
KÄPY Research Group and Collaborators
The study was coordinated by the UKK institute for health promotion. It initiated local transdisciplinary collaboration between the fields of health promotion (the UKK Institute), urban planning (Tampere university of technology / School of Architecture) and transportation (Tampere University of Technology / Verne Traffic Research Center, City of Tampere / Traffic Planning and Ecofellows Ltd).
Other collaborators were University of Oxford (United Kingdom) and University of Graz (Austria).