TRB 2016 Blue Ribbon Committee
16th National Transportation Planning Applications Conference

Quantifying Physical Activity Using An Activity-Based Travel Demand Model

Corresponding Author: Wu Sun, San Diego Association of Governments

Presented By: Clint Daniels, San Diego Association of Governments


Transportation is one of the economic and social factors that influences public health. Sustainable transportation policies benefit public health through reduced pollution emissions, increased physical activity, and improved safety. Physical activity reduces the risks of chronic diseases and disorders related to lifestyle. Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) traditionally depend on regional travel demand models to assist decision makers in evaluating policy impacts on mobility and social equity. What is less well understood is the transportation impact on public health. The objective of this paper is to describe how a MPO travel forecast model helps bridge the gap between public health and transportation. More specifically, the paper describes how a MPO model incorporates walking and biking usage and quantifies physical activity.

This paper is based on the integrated Activity-Based Model (ABM) and Active Transportation (AT) Model developed by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). The paper starts with a description of model components related to quantifying physical activity. Then, the paper presents one base and four hypothetical scenarios. The objective is to construct four “what if” scenarios to explore the potential of transportation impact on public health. As the hypothetical scenarios become more aggressive in encouraging walking and biking, physical activity improvements were reported in two metrics: total time spent on physical activity per capita and percent of population engaging in physical activity more than 20 minutes daily. This study provides a quantitative tool to policymakers in assessing transportation impact on physical activity.


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