Exploring where Canadians work and live and their association with active transportation

Reasons for the study

In Canada, 81.5 per cent of full-time working adults are insufficiently active and, therefore, at greater risk for chronic disease and premature mortality. Active transportation, involving walking or cycling, are important modes of physical activity in adults, accounting for 33 to 68 per cent of daily levels.

The quality of built environments and social environments can support active transportation. Built environments refer to aspects of the physical environment, such as the places and spaces where we work, live, play and travel.

Research examining the role of built environments on active transportation has largely focused on neighbourhood design and has highlighted the importance of walkability, accessibility of facilities and destinations, and active transportation infrastructure (e.g. bike and walking paths). In contrast, the role of the built environment around workplaces is not as well understood; nor is the role of the social environment and the interplay between home and work environments. This study aims to help fill this gap.

Objectives of the study

  • Describe and characterize the built and social environments where Canadians work and live¬†
  • Describe how these environments are associated with active transportation¬†and their importance for active transportation¬†
  • Develop key messages that can be used to inform interventions related to active transportation

Target audience

Urban planners; public health agencies

Project status


Research team

  • Aviroop Biswas, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
  • Peter Smith, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
  • Stephanie Prince Ware, Public Health Agency of Canada (PI)
  • Justin Lang, Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Paul Villeneuve, Carleton University

Collaborators and partners

Infrastructure Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada

Funded by

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)