Built environmental correlates of utilitarian walking among older adults: Does the type of activity places matter?

Camille Perchoux, Ruben Brondeel, Rania Wasfi, Olivier Klein, Geoffrey Caruso, Julie Vallée, Sylvain Klein, Benoit Thierry, Chaix Basile, Yan Kestens, Philippe Gerber

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Introduction: Evidence on environmental determinants of utilitarian walking stresses the necessity to distinguish between commuting and errand. However, this work/non-work dichotomy is an over-simplification of “how travel behavior is influenced by urban form” (Krizek, 2003). Both the location and the type of activity are critical to understand travel modes. This study examines the influence of the type of activity conducted at a given location on walking, and the interaction effect with the built environment and distance to the place of residence.
Method: This study is based on a cohort of 470 elders (≥65 y) from the international CURHA project (Kestens et al. 2016). Information related to demographics, health status and regular activity locations were collected using standard questionnaires and the VERITAS survey. Associations between type of activity (personal, shop, free time, visit, meal, appointment), environmental characteristics (density of amenities, diversity, connectivity, public transport frequency), distance, and walking were analysed by generalized estimating equations models with logit link accounting for demographics, neighborhood self-selection, and physical health.
Results: The type of activity is a strong correlate of walking among elders. While density and diversity of amenities were associated with walking, evidence of interactions with the type of activity is less clear. The barrier effect of distance on walking strongly differ by type of activity.
Conclusion: While increasing interest is dedicated to “when” and “where” travel behavior is realized, this study stresses the importance of “contextualized data” by looking at the type of activity conducted at a specific location.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberS20
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • health
  • older adults
  • walking
  • regular activity

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