eCite Digital Repository

Is greater public transport use associated with higher levels of physical activity in a regional setting? Findings from a pilot study


Silva Ragaini, B and Sharman, MJ and Lyth, A and Jose, KA and Blizzard, L and Peterson, C and Johnston, FH and Palmer, A and Williams, J and Marshall, EA and Morse, M and Cleland, VJ, Is greater public transport use associated with higher levels of physical activity in a regional setting? Findings from a pilot study, Pilot and Feasibility Studies, 7 Article 217. ISSN 2055-5784 (2021) [Refereed Article]

PDF (Published version)

Copyright Statement

The Author(s) 2021. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, ( which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made

DOI: doi:10.1186/s40814-021-00951-8


Background: Public transport users often accumulate more physical activity than motor vehicle users, but most studies have been conducted in large metropolitan areas with multiple public transport options with limited knowledge of the relationship in regional and rural areas. In a regional city, this pilot study aimed to (1) test the feasibility of preliminary hypotheses to inform future research, (2) test the utility of survey items, and (3) establish stakeholder engagement.

Methods: Data were collected via a cross-sectional online survey of 743 Tasmanian adults. Physical activity outcomes were walking (min/week), total moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (min/week) and attainment of physical activity guidelines (yes/no). Transport variables were frequency of public and private transport use per week. Truncated and log binomial regression examined associations between public/private transport use and physical activity.

Results: Neither frequency of public nor private transport use was associated with minutes of walking (public transport: B - 24.4, 95% CI: - 110.7, 61.9; private transport: B - 1.1, 95% CI: - 72.4, 70.1), minutes of total physical activity (public transport: B - 90.8, 95% CI: - 310.0, 128.5; private transport: B 0.4, 95% CI: - 134.0, 134.9) or not meeting physical activity guidelines (public transport: RR 1.02, 95%CI: 0.95, 1.09; private transport: RR 1.02, 95%CI: 0.96, 1.08).

Conclusions: The hypothesis that public transport users would be more physically active than private transport users was not supported in this pilot study. Stakeholders were engaged and involved in various phases of the research including development of research questions, participant recruitment, and interpretation of findings. Further studies using representative samples and refined measures are warranted to confirm or refute findings.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Walking, Physical activity, Public transport, Active travel, Public health, Public policy
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Epidemiology
Research Field:Behavioural epidemiology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Behaviour and health
UTAS Author:Silva Ragaini, B (Ms Bruna Silva Ragaini)
UTAS Author:Sharman, MJ (Dr Matt Sharman)
UTAS Author:Jose, KA (Dr Kim Jose)
UTAS Author:Blizzard, L (Professor Leigh Blizzard)
UTAS Author:Peterson, C (Mr Corey Peterson)
UTAS Author:Johnston, FH (Professor Fay Johnston)
UTAS Author:Palmer, A (Professor Andrew Palmer)
UTAS Author:Cleland, VJ (Associate Professor Verity Cleland)
ID Code:148243
Year Published:2021
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2021-12-14
Last Modified:2022-01-17
Downloads:8 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page