Scientific and societal purpose
Using public transportation associates with meeting physical activity (PA) recommendation. Transportation reform, such as in the city of Tampere in August 2021, offers unique opportunity to examine also causal implications. It also provides innovative setting for transdisciplinary PA promotion and behavioral, environmental, and cost analysis.
Participants and methods
The reform includes a new tramway with bus connections, park-and-ride areas, and a city bike system. The participants are recruited from the workplaces in one end of the new tramway. Part I evaluates the reform effects from Fall 2021 to Fall 2022 on participants’ commuting patterns, PA, perceived health, work ability, quality of life, adverse events and use of walking and cycling trails. Measures in Fall 2021 include data from FinFit-study 2017, 2018 and 2021, e-questionnaire, travel diary, accelerometer, and traffic calculations. In Fall 2022 they are complemented with 6-minute walk test and blood tests for cardiovascular and metabolic risk assessment. In Part II the workplaces are randomized into intervention (INT) and comparison (CON) group. INT implements co-created actions to promote walking and cycling as primary or secondary means of transportation to work. CON continues as usual. Between-group difference of change is assessed in Fall 2023 with same outcomes and measures as in Fall 2022. To understand factors behind PA and travel behavior a subgroup of participants (n~100) is interviewed. Environmental significance to PA is examined by merging data on participants’ PA and residential environment. Cost-effectiveness analysis links implementation costs to health-related reimbursements from national registries.
Expected results and impacts
The study generates new scientific information for knowledge-based management of PA. Implementation in natural environment, inclusion of process evaluation and accelerometer-based assessment of PA improve applicability, reliability, and scalability of the findings. The results help to acknowledge the synergy benefits of PA and transportation and expand the argumentation ground from behavior to more computational outcomes such as health, work ability and quality of life. The co-creation process reveals developmental needs in cross-sector collaboration. Interview data provides help for targeting and tailoring PA promotion. Merged PA and environmental data enlighten the ecological possibilities of PA promotion.
Minna Aittasalo, Senior Researcher
Minna Aittasalo, Tommi Vasankari, Harri Sievänen, Kari Tokola, Henri Vähä-Ypyä, Jani Raitanen ja Päivi Kolu (UKK), Matti Luhtala (VTT), Riikka Paloniemi ja Maija Tiitu (SYKE), Birgitta Ojala ja Leila Hurmerinta (Turku University), Charlie Foster (Bristol university)
The study is part of larger STYLE-consortium (www.styletutkimus.fi/en).
Academy of Finland (Strategic Research Council).