Motivations and barriers to utilizing adult walking buses: An examination of demographic correlates of willingness to participate in a community-based walking program
AUTHORS: Adrienne Milner, Elizabeth Baker, Virginia Sisiopiku
KEYWORDS: Walking Bus, Exercise Motivations, Exercise Barriers, Perceptions, Birmingham, Alabama
JOURNAL NAME: Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, Vol.3 No.9,
Walking buses are a way to increase physical activity by encouraging people to walk rather than rely on motorized forms of transportation. Several communities support walking school buses as an alternative mode of pupil transportation to schools. A possible extension of this concept is the introduction of adult walking buses. Given the novelty of the concept, very little is currently known about the public’s perceptions regarding adult walking buses and their potential effectiveness to increase physical activity and decrease obesity among adults. To bridge this gap, this study examined motivations and barriers to participation in an adult walking bus program in Birmingham, Alabama using a comprehensive questionnaire survey. Analysis of over 340 responses revealed a positive reception of the concept among the survey responders. More specifically, 60.1% of the sample reported they would definitely or probably participate in a walking bus program. Results from nested ordinal logistic regression analysis indicate that health benefits are the strongest motivation for willingness to participate in a walking bus program. Sensitivity to environmental issues is also a significant predictor of willingness to participate across models. The most significant barrier to willingness to participate in a walking bus program is limited time. The significance of demographic variables (obesity, race/ ethnicity, and age) as predictors of willingness to participate is reduced once motivations and barriers are controlled. In conclusion, the positive response to the program among our sample is encouraging and suggests that adult walking buses should be explored further as an active alternative transportation option with a potential to improve the health and wellbeing of participants.