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Survey research looks at attitudes, obstacles to walking and biking to work
Date:4/13/2009

results that people who hold ecologically-friendly attitudes are more likely to actively commute and less likely to drive to work," Bopp said. The finding was interesting and she said future programs promoting active commuting could emphasize the eco-friendliness of it as a selling point.

Some of the hindrances to active commuting, according to the surveys, included a perceived lack of bike racks, showers or a place to freshen up before work or teaching, and an "office culture" where driving to work is the norm and there is limited support for walking or biking.

Respondents also listed time constraints, weather, a need to go elsewhere before or after work or school; parking availability; parking costs; concerns about the environment, such as pollution; cost of gasoline; safety from traffic and crime; and the terrain they have to traverse.

Kaczynski said that if bike lanes and sidewalks are a consideration of city and county engineers whenever roads have to be renovated it could benefit public health.

"In my opinion, changes to the physical environment that promote physical activity are investments, not costs," he said. "Policymakers ought to weigh the cost of installing sidewalks or widening roads for bike lanes and the positive health benefits of physical activity.

"There are long-term economic costs to society of obesity, cancers and heart disease," Kaczynski said. "There are emotional costs of people suffering because physical activity is actually being engineered out of our lives by having poor streets and other factors related to urban design."

Mixed land use, where residential areas, commercial opportunities, parks, and workplaces are close and connected, provides more chances for people to engage in physical activity for leisure or for purposeful transportation, Kaczynski said.

"We see some areas of Manhattan where people can live, work and play all within a relatively short distance, but for lar
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Contact: Melissa Bopp
mbopp@k-state.edu
785-532-7771
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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