Active transportation promotion for Canadian adults: A scoping review and environmental scan

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  • Active transport (i.e., moving oneself from place to place by walking, cycling, or other active means) is recognized as a sustainable and inclusive form of transportation. It is also a primary source of physical activity for most adults and the associated benefits are clear for community well-being, air pollution, climate change, environment, and health. Unfortunately, the majority of Canadian adults do not employ active transport on a daily basis.

    To help identify potential policies and interventions that may shed insight on active transport of adults, two reviews were conducted. First, we performed a rapid review of reviews describing the promotion of active transport among Canadian adults. This involved searching the research
    literature for Canadian specific reviews, published since 2017, that summarized evidence of policies, interventions, or programs that supported active transport among Canadian adults. Second, a scoping review was conducted of published reviews, including both international and Canadian content, that described policies and interventions that influence or affect active transport among adults.

    Based on our preliminary scan of Canadian based research and our scoping review, it is apparent that many studies and reviews have attempted to examine policies and interventions in relation to active transport among adults. In Canada, most provinces have some dedicated programs and/or strategies to facilitate active transport. The research evidence shows that walkability and land use are consistently associated with walking for transport in this country. Similarly, the majority of systematic reviews in the scoping review focused on the built environment and showed consistent associations between active transport and walkability, availability of destinations near residential areas, and supportive infrastructure for cycling. Future areas of research include examinations of natural experiments (e.g., evaluations of active transport infrastructure enhancement projects) and further exploration of the factors that may moderate the influence of the environment on active transport (e.g., winter conditions).

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International