Transit Improves Fitness? Not Always


Are we losing an urban myth? Does transit use promote fitness? A new study says that’s not always the case:

The widely held notion that better public transit encourages more physical activity feels true. It fits the dualistic picture of urban/suburban health that city boosters often paint: Drivers roll from garage to parking lot with nary a step taken, while bus and rail riders get their hearts pumping on brisk walks or bike trips to and from the station. City officials love to tout transit’s health benefits in marketing campaigns, as do planners, developers, and transit advocates.

But the connection doesn’t seem to be so black-and-white. New findings by the University of Southern California and UC Irvine published in Transportation Research should give “walkability” proselytizers some pause. This is one of the most comprehensive studies to date examining how access to light rail influences physical activity, and it found that having rapid transit nearby can boost steps for some—but can decrease them for others.

To read the full story in The Atlantic’s CityLab, click here.

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5 thoughts on “Transit Improves Fitness? Not Always

  1. ” New findings”

    I have , over the years, read many new findings. Eggs bad, then eggs not so bad, then?
    Flossing is great, now – maybe not so great. Animal fat bad, or is that now maybe you could use some in your diet.

    I don’t know much about “new findings” except when I hear that phrase then this happens :

    Slowly I turn , step by step, inch by inch……..

  2. But the study involves California, not OC Transpo.
    Unknown to most, buried deep in OC Transpo headquarters is an evil man who sends, not one but, two buses through my bus stop whenever I am tantalizingly close.
    I run as fast as possible to catch one (great cardio-vascular workout!) but inevitably fail to get there before the bus departs without me.
    Thanks to the service of the secret controller, OC Transpo riders enjoy outstanding levels of fitness.

    1. Brocklebank:

      That’s the trouble with running stories out of town. It also explains the development in Canada of great sprinters.



    2. Add all that sweating from the run to the shivering in the cold winter weather while you wait for that next bus and the calories will be burning away.


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