Evaluating methods for measuring daily walking to public transport: Balancing detail and data availability

Authors: Emily Grise*, School of Urban Planning, McGill University, Robbin Deboosere, School of Urban Planning, McGill University, Rania Wasfi, Centre de Recherche du CHUM, Université de Montréal, Nancy Ross, Department of Geography, McGill Univeristy, Ahmed El-Geneidy, School of Urban Planning, McGill University
Topics: Transportation Geography, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: Public transport, walking, travel behavior, physical activity
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Galerie 1, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Including physical activity in the daily commutes of individuals is a major goal that governments internationally are trying to achieve due to the positive impacts of physical activity on population health. To accurately quantify the amount of physical activity a person accumulates through their daily commute is challenging for many planners and geographers due to the scarcity of detailed data, especially for those commuting by public transport. This paper will measure and compare an individuals’ daily walking using two datasets, using Montreal, Canada as a case study. The first method uses detailed origin destination survey data of individual public transport trips, which includes the origin, destination and mode(s) (bus, metro, train) used. The second method uses readily available census data on home and work locations at tract level of analysis. The detailed trip information will be used to measure the walking distance of each trip, which will then be aggregated to the census tract level to derive an average walking distance of individuals residing in that census tract. Such aggregation will enable a direct comparison to estimated walking distances derived from census data. Multilevel mixed-effect regression models will be used to identify the determinants of total walking when using both methods. Findings from this study can provide professionals with a better understanding of how estimated walking distances to public transport from readily available census data can be used as a proxy to detailed trip data in a variety of urban contexts especially regions where such detailed information is not available.

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