Understanding Municipal Officials' Involvement in Transportation Policies Supportive of Walking and Bicycling

UMMS Affiliation

UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center; Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Health Policy | Preventive Medicine | Public Health | Transportation


CONTEXT: Local transportation policies can impact the built environment and physical activity. Municipal officials play a critical role in transportation policy and planning decisions, yet little is known about what influences their involvement.

OBJECTIVE: To describe municipal officials' involvement in transportation policies that were supportive of walking and bicycling and to examine individual- and job-related predictors of involvement in transportation policies among municipal officials.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional survey was administered online from June to July 2012 to municipal officials in 83 urban areas with a population of 50 000 or more residents across 8 states.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of 461 municipal officials from public health, planning, transportation, public works, community and economic development, parks and recreation, city management, and municipal legislatures responded to the survey. MAIN

OUTCOME MEASURE: Participation in the development, adoption, or implementation of a municipal transportation policy supportive of walking or bicycling.

RESULTS: Multivariate logistic regression analyses, conducted in September 2013, revealed that perceived importance of economic development and traffic congestion was positively associated with involvement in a municipal transportation policy (odds ratio [OR] = 1.32, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.02-1.70; OR = 1.59, 95% CI = 1.26-2.01, respectively). Higher perceived resident support of local government to address economic development was associated with an increased likelihood of participation in a transportation policy (OR = 1.70, 95% CI = 1.24-2.32). Respondents who perceived lack of collaboration as a barrier were less likely to be involved in a transportation policy (OR = 0.78, 95% CI = 0.63-0.97). Municipal officials who lived in the city or town in which they worked were significantly more likely to be involved in a transportation policy (OR = 1.83, 95% CI = 1.05-3.17).

CONCLUSIONS: Involvement in a local transportation policy by a municipal official was associated with greater perceived importance of economic development and traffic congestion in job responsibilities, greater perceived resident support of local government to address economic development, and residence of the municipal official. Lack of collaboration represented a barrier to local transportation policy participation.

DOI of Published Version



J Public Health Manag Pract. 2017 Jul/Aug;23(4):348-355. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000152. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of public health management and practice : JPHMP

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID