, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 363–374 | Cite as

Understanding the relationships between private automobile availability, overall physical activity, and travel behavior in adults

  • Hannah M. Badland
  • Grant M. Schofield


In most developed countries motorized transportation is the dominant form of travel for long and short journeys. Transport-related physical activity (TPA), however, is advocated as an appropriate transport mode for traveling short distances. The purpose of this study is to explore the associations between private automobile availability, overall physical activity levels, and TPA engagement in the adult population. A population-representative telephone survey assessed socio-demographics, private automobile availability, overall physical activity levels, and travel to place of work/study and the convenience shop with an adult sample (n = 2,000) residing in North Shore City, Auckland, New Zealand in April 2005. The majority of respondents reported unrestricted (80%) or frequent (12%) private automobile availability. After controlling for covariates, binary logistic regression analyses revealed those with no private automobile available were less likely to be classified as sufficiently active for health benefits when compared to respondents with unrestricted private automobile availability. However, this finding was based on a small minority (4%). Also, those reporting no private automobile availability were more likely to walk or cycle to place of employment and the convenience shop when compared to those with unrestricted private automobile availability. Similar to other self-report travel and physical activity survey tools, the questionnaire used potentially did not adequately capture TPA engagement. Future TPA research needs to incorporate objective measures to address this issue.


Active transport Adults Car availability Physical activity Travel 



Sport and Recreation New Zealand provided funding for the AFES. The lead author acknowledges the support of the New Zealand National Heart Foundation through the Maori Cardiovascular Research Fellowship (Grant 1104).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, Faculty of Health and Environmental SciencesAuckland University of TechnologyAucklandNew Zealand

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