Neighbourhood and infrastructure influences on mobility

Walking outdoors in autumn

In this part of the workstream, we study how our environment influences physical activity and active travel, and assess the impact of built environment interventions.  Our research includes studying public transport satisfaction, trends in active travel levels, and comparing active travel between more affluent and more deprived populations. We are interested in how children’s active travel to school may be related to environmental features and home-to-school distance, and how neighbourhood change, such as development of a new urban motorway in Glasgow, may impact active travel and road traffic accidents (M74 study).

We look at the influence of physical activity facilities and broader physical and social environmental supportiveness. For example, linking individual health and behavioural data with area-level data across mainland Scotland to explore associations between physical activity facility access and BMI.  We are interested in the impact of built-environment change stemming from events such as Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games on physical activity levels, and we are studying proximity to greenspace and self-reported physical activity and sedentary behaviour among Scottish children. We previously created a ‘Walkability Score’ (including street and path connectivity and dwelling density) and compared scores around primary schools by deprivation. The score is being utilised in further research to explore associations with sedentary behaviour and the impact of major urban regeneration on levels of walkability and walking behaviour (GoWell). Additionally we are examining the relationships between access to private transport and health. We have previously worked with Paths for All to assess how their walking group provision relates to population demand and need.

We are developing Agent Based Models (ABMs) of interactions between people, place and health. We are building an ABM model of urban park use with the model simulating interactions between park availability, local cultural norms and individual characteristics to explore spatial and social inequalities in park use. Using SPACES, we are also building an ABM of children’s mobility to explore the impact of urban form, amenities and infrastructure.

Our studies and collaborations include the M74 Study, evaluation of the impact of Scotland’s school relocation programme on levels of active travel in collaboration with SUSTRANS, and socio-spatial analysis for Paths For All of their current walking group provision.

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