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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Travel Behavior Comparisons of Active Living and Inactive Living Lifestyles


The past century’s radical change, innovation in transportation technology and concomitant increase in options for our travel modes moves us away from walking to an almost total extinction of modes that require physical exercise. This is accompanied by a modern American city design that requires the use of an automobile with urban sprawl creating distant destinations that alter older methods of travel and make active forms of transportation almost impossible. However, many more reasons exist that motivate people to choose physically inactive modes as our research shows here. Using a two-day activity diary collected in Centre County Pennsylvania, we identify which factors influence active versus inactive mode choice. In this analysis, we examine the correlation between trip purpose and travel mode, the correlation between age and travel mode, and perform an analysis of travel distances to determine what the distance threshold is for active modes. In addition, a latent class cluster analysis establishes a profile for both physically active as well as inactive travelers and their correlation with person and household characteristics. Key findings include that trips made using active modes are significantly different than trips made by inactive modes and persons with active transportation lifestyles are significantly different than persons with inactive lifestyles. This raises the following issue: policies designed for and motivated by persons with active lifestyles risk to fail if they do not succeed in meeting the needs for everyday life of those with inactive lifestyles.

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