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Prev Med. 2003 Feb;36(2):235-42.

An environmental intervention to promote walking and cycling--the impact of a newly constructed Rail Trail in Western Sydney.

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Epidemiology Unit, NSW Centre for Physical Activity and Health, University of New South Wales, Liverpool NSW 2170, Australia.



Few studies have evaluated environmental changes to promote physical activity. The impact of a local promotional campaign around a newly constructed Rail Trail in western Sydney, Australia, was assessed.


Pre and post-campaign telephone surveys were used. Adults 18-55 years of age were randomly sampled from an "inner" area, residents within < or =1.5 km of the Trail, and an "outer" area, bike-owners only, 1.5-5 km from the Trail. Objective concurrent monitoring of daily bike counts was carried out.


A cohort of 450 completed both interviews. A significant increase (+2.9%, McNemar P < 0.05) in unprompted Trail awareness was detected but post-campaign awareness was low (34%). Inner cyclists, males, and those recalling any baseline bike promotion messages were more likely to be aware of the Trail. Trail usage was higher among bike-owners than pedestrians (8.9 vs 3.3%, P = 0.014) and was moderated by proximity to the Trail. Inner cyclists increased mean cycling time by 0.19 h (SD = 1.5) while outer cyclists decreased cycling time (-0.24 h, SD = 1.6). Mean daily bike counts in the monitored areas increased significantly after the Trail launch (OR = 1.35, P = 0.0001, and OR = 1.23, P = 0.0004).


The campaign reached and influenced cyclists in the inner area. For further increase in Trail usage promotional and educational programs focusing on walking for inner residents are needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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