Active Commuting; Physical Activity; Diverse Populations; Travel Mode


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Public Health Education and Promotion



Active commuting (AC; walking and biking to work) is associated with a number of positive health outcomes, low participation remains low in the USA. Our objective was to examine the multi-level influences on AC considering social determinants of health: race/ethnicity, income level and location.


We conducted a cross-sectional survey examining correlates of AC in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The sample consisted of 1,310 adults over the age of 18 who were employed part- or full-time outside of the home and physically able to walk and bike. One-way ANOVAs, t-tests, and Pearson correlation analyses were run to examine the relationship between AC and influences based on the Social Ecological Model for each of the different groups (non/metro, higher/lower-income, white/black/other).


There was not a significant difference in active commuting for higher income participants compared to lower income participants. Among both low and high income individuals, males were more likely to AC than females. Metro participants reported significantly more AC trips compared to non-metro participants. Blacks were least likely to AC, followed by whites, with all other racial/ethnic groups having the highest rates of AC. Variables from multiple levels were significant influencers on AC in each population.


The findings from this study provide insight into the multi-level influences of AC in a variety of diverse population that are often at higher risk for diseases associated with physical inactivity and obesity. This information is useful in providing a foundation for future multi-level approaches targeting AC identifying populations with which to implement AC.