Harvey J. Miller Workshop: The Moving Across Places Study (MAPS) and the Future of Data-Driven Urban Science

Tuesday, 23rd June, 2015
5:15pm - 7:30pm
Yudowitz Seminar Room, Wolfson Medical School Building, University of Glasgow

Lack of physical activity (PA) and consequent poor health outcomes such as obesity, diabetes and some cancers is a persistent public health issue. 

Planners and policy leaders often view public transit as a means for increasing PA levels. While there is evidence that public transit users are more physically active overall, it is not clear whether it is new or shifted from other forms of existing PA. The typically greater time required to use public transit relative to automobile trips suggests that users may substitute transit-related PA for other activities such as recreational walking and biking, attenuating the health benefits of public transit. Using GPS and accelerometer data from a quasi-experimental study of PA before and after construction of a light rail line and walkability enhancements in a neighborhood of Salt Lake City, Utah USA, we investigate changes in PA and explore disaggregate and spatial effects. Adult participants wore accelerometers and GPS loggers for approximately one week during pre-construction (Time 1) and post-construction (Time 2) of a Complete Street intervention involving a light rail line, new sidewalks and a bike path. Participants also completed surveys for socioeconomic, attitudinal and behavioral data. We examine 537 participants with complete accelerometer and GPS data for both time periods. Results suggest that transit ridership is associated with new PA rather than drawn from existing PA. This implies that public health benefits should be considered in public transit policies and plans.


  • 5:15pm – 5:20pm - Welcome & Introduction — Professor Piyushimita (Vonu) Thakuriah
  • 5:20pm – 6:00pm - The Moving Across Places Study (MAPS): Measuring the Influence of Light Rail Transit and Complete Streets on Physical Activity – Professor Harvey J. Miller
  • 6:00pm – 6:15pm - Q&A
  • 6:15pm – 6:30pm - Future of Data-Driven Urban Science – Professor Harvey J. Miller
  • 6:30pm – 7:00pm - Open Discussion – Chaired by Professor Piyushimita (Vonu) Thakuriah
  • 7:00pm – 7:30pm - Drinks and Canapés Reception