Travel trends are a key to better health

Brendan Pearson says finding out how people travel to work can make us healthier. Picture: TARA GOONANDRIVE, cycle or walk — how does Albury like to get moving?
Nanjing Night Net

A new Murrumbidgee Local Health District project is asking that question and the results could have far-reaching consequences for the city for a long time.

Health promotion co-ordinator Brendan Pearson has chosen the city to research what the most popular modes of travel to work are in regional people, and why.

He has spoken with staff at several Albury businesses for one of the first such studies to focus exclusively on a regional area — most studies, Mr Pearson said, had foc-used only on big cities.

According to the 2011 Census, 77.1per cent of Albury’s residents travelled to work by car, as driver or passenger.

Just 3.5per cent walked, 1.2per cent cycled and 0.8per cent used public transport.

Mr Pearson said his research had so far tossed up a variety of reasons for these figures, such as a lack of infrastructure in workplaces.

“If there’s not enough showers available or there isn’t somewhere to secure your bike, people aren’t going to cycle,” he said.

“Then there’s personal reasons, such as whether people feel they have got enough time to walk or cycle.

“The presence of plenty of car parks near a workplace also sends a message that you drive to work.”

A city’s wider infrastructure also influenced people’s choices, such as whether there were bike paths, pedestrian crossings or street lighting to make an area safer.

Once his study is complete, it will be available to Albury Council and other regional councils to help guide their planning.

It could also direct health initiatives, with the nation’s rising levels of obesity and physical inactivity a concern.

“From a health perspective, if we get more people to be more active in their day-to-day lives, they’re going to be healthier,” he said.

“In terms of sustainability, we can’t keep having bigger, wider roads for more cars — we’ll get to a point where we don’t have the space.

“Metropolitan areas are already starting to run out and, even in regional areas, it will be a problem.

“This will show councils and workplaces what can be done if you encourage it.”

The research project is supported by the Health Education and Training Institute rural research and capacity building program.

Anyone interested in participating in the study can contact Brendan Pearson on 0408 610 277 or visit the Facebook page facebook南京夜网/worktravel-albury.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


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