Get BusActive!

Imagine if you could stay healthy just by catching the bus more often.

Studies have shown that simply walking to and from bus stops can keep you more physically active.

The Get BusActive Study is led by Associate Professor Verity Cleland from the The University of Tasmania’s Menzies Institute for Medical Research. She wants to understand how to increase bus use and whether bus use improves physical activity.

How has the Collaboration supported this project?

“TCHI has supported planning our research project and is now helping with recruitment of study participants”

“When results are finalised, TCHI will have a role in supporting dissemination of findings”

Associate Professor Verity Cleland – Project Lead, Get BusActive!

Why is this project important?

This project has the potential to bring significant improvements in cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke, conditions that disproportionately effect those living in Tasmania. Increasing public transport use could reduce all-cause mortality risk by 14%, CVD risk by 19%, and ischemic heart disease risk by 25%. Physical activity also has co-benefits that align with international, national, and state policy goals, such as environmental, economic, and social benefits. Further, project outcomes are important to the Australian public: 82% of Tasmanians believe physical activity has a large/very large effect on health, and 55% support investing in prevention. Co-design will ensure reach and relevance and enhance the likelihood of effective scale-up. The knowledge generated will ensure decision-makers are better informed about how best to increase transport-related physical activity.

The approach

The project was designed in collaboration with Metro Tasmania, the Tasmanian Department of Health (Public Health Services), the Local Government Association of Tasmania, and the Tasmanian Collaboration for Health Improvement. We chose incentives because there is some evidence that these may be effective at changing behaviour, because this was feasible to implement within the public transport provider’s operating system, and because our pilot study data demonstrated promising results. Our participant recruitment strategy, recruitment materials, and data collection tools have been designed in close connection with our partners and our Consumer Advisory Group.

Who will benefit from this research?

There is a critical need to develop innovative, effective, and sustainable strategies to increase physical activity. Despite the critical role of physical activity in CVD and stroke prevention, more than one third of Australians are insufficiently active, with little change in prevalence since the 1980s. Innovative strategies to address this are urgently needed. With public transport users averaging 15 minutes/day more physical activity than non-users, largely through walking to and from stops and stations and other incidental activity throughout the day, the targeting of public transport use represents an under-explored opportunity to increase physical activity. Use of public and active forms of transport brings additional health, social, environmental, and economic benefits. Yet how best to increase public transport use and associated physical activity is unknown, meaning public health and public transport policymakers and providers have no guidance for decision-making, design, or implementation of strategies. Identifying scalable strategies to increase physical activity is therefore a crucial public health goal, which will be addressed in this collaborative, consumer-oriented world-first randomised controlled trial.

For more information on this project, please contact us

Get in touch to chat with the Collaboration’s Community & Consumer Involvement Coordinator.