Active travel and the built environment: A theoretical model and multidimensional evidence

Jiayu Wu, Binhui Wang, Rui Wang*, Na Ta, Yanwei Chai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


This study proposes a demand model incorporating active travel's intrinsic benefits and analyzes the built environment's impact on the active travel behavior of commuters in a subarea of Beijing. The combined use of GPS trajectories and travel diary enables simultaneous analyses of multiple travel behavior metrics measuring both physical activity and mode choice. China's unique institutional context provides a natural experiment of randomized residential location. Empirical analyses show that the active travel impact of the built environment are complex depending on location and active travel metric, and are equally important as those of individual and household attributes for active travel duration and distance. Dense and diverse employment centers and open space in residential areas seem to promote active travel in commute. Different policy goals related to active travel, such as public health and congestion and emissions mitigation, might not be achieved simultaneously by a specific built environmental intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103029
JournalTransportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Active travel
  • Beijing
  • Built environment
  • Demand model
  • GPS trajectories

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