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Taking Public Transit Can Improve Public Health

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By walking twenty minutes each way from the metro in Atlanta to her job at the American Cancer Society, Lois Fletcher has lost more than thirty pounds. It’s a remarkable story about how tweaking your day to day routine can have profound influences on your health. But as researchers who study public health will tell, its really not all that surprising. Below are the conclusions of several studies that clearly illustrate the link between good transit and public health:

  • Train commuters walk significantly more steps per day (+30%) than automobile commuters. Train commuters are also 4 times more likely than car commuters to meet the recommended standard of 10,000 steps per day.” [Environment and Behavior]
  • A study conducted in Shanghai found that women who reported regular exercise and cycling for transportation were at a 20–50% lower risk for early mortality than less active women. [American Journal of Epidemiology]
  • 78% of riders from three walkable New Jersey train stations met the national standard for physical activity. As a whole, only 45% of Americans meet this recommended standard. [Journal of Public transportation]
  • In Colombia, people who belong to a family owning a motorcycle or automobile are more likely to suffer from obesity [Indoor and built environment]

If you know of any more studies on the health benefits of public transit, we’d love to hear from you.