An examination of active travel trends before and after college graduation

Melissa Bopp, Oliver W.A. Wilson, Michele Duffey, Zack Papalia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Active travel (AT); walking and biking for transportation; has many health, environmental and economic benefits, yet rates of participation remain low in the US. During college years AT participation is typically higher than in older adulthood, but it is unknown how this behavior tracks into later life stages. Therefore this study examined AT participation before and after graduation from college. Methods: A volunteer sample of college students participated in an online baseline survey with follow-ups at regular intervals, up to, and including, post-graduation. The survey assessed participant demographics, AT participation (dichotomized as high/low AT), physical activity (PA) participation, and post-graduation work details (hours worked, sit time at work, distance to work), and health outcomes (body mass index, stress, depression,). Separate logistic regression models predicted AT status according to pre/post-graduation factors and significant factors were examined simultaneously in a multivariate logistic model. Results: Students (n = 204) were predominately female (n = 122, 60.7%) and Non-Hispanic White (n = 166, 83%). The high post-graduation AT group reported 324.73 ± 193.10 min of AT/week versus those in the low AT group (24.69 ± 41.81; p<.001). Higher post-graduation AT was associated with higher vigorous PA and AT in the last semester of college, higher moderate PA post-graduation, lesser distance to work, and less sit time at work. The final multivariate model resulted in a Nagelkerke R2 of 0.33 with pre-graduation vigorous and AT minutes/week, post-graduate moderate PA, and distance to work as significant predictors of post-grad AT. Discussion: The current study examined how AT behavior tracks across a major life transition, indicating the importance of supporting health-related behaviors during the college years. College campuses may use these findings to support AT among students for positive long-term health outcomes well beyond the time spent in college.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100602
JournalJournal of Transport and Health
StatePublished - Sep 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Transportation
  • Pollution
  • Safety Research
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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