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Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2011 Jun 10;8:61. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-8-61.

Assessing the impact of road traffic on cycling for leisure and cycling to work.

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Department of Public Health, University of Oxford, UK.



To explore the relationship between leisure and commuter cycling with objectively measured levels of road traffic and whether any relationship was affected by traffic levels directly outside of home or in local neighbourhood.


We conducted a secondary analysis of data from the UK European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC) Norfolk cohort in 2009. We used a geographical information system (GIS) and gender specific multivariate models to relate 13 927 participants' reported levels of cycling with an index of road traffic volume (Road Traffic Volume Index Score--RTVIS). RTVIS were calculated around each participants home, using four distance based buffers, (0.5 km, 1 km, 2 km and 3.2 km). Models were adjusted for age, social status, education, car access and deprivation. Both genders had similar decreases in leisure cycling as traffic volumes increased at greater distances from home (OR 0.42, (95% CI 0.32-0.52, p < 0.001) for women and OR 0.41, (95% CI 0.33-0.50, p < 0.001) for men in the highest quartile at 3.2 km). There was no effect of traffic volumes at any distance on commuter cycling.


Traffic volumes appear to have greater impact on leisure cycling than commuter cycling. Future research should investigate the importance of traffic on different types of cycling and include psychosocial correlates.

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