Shifting from car to active transport: A systematic review of the effectiveness of interventions

C.e. Scheepers, G.c.w. Wendel-vos, J.m. Den Broeder, E.e.m.m. Van Kempen, P.j.v. Van Wesemael, A.J. Schuit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

147 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction A promising way to stimulate physical activity is to promote the choice for active modes of transport (walking and cycling). Over the past years, several interventions and policies have been implemented to stimulate this mode shift. However, information concerning the effectiveness of these interventions and policies is still limited. The aim of the present study was to systematically review the effectiveness of interventions designed to stimulate a shift from car use to cycling or walking and to obtain insight into the intervention tools that have been used to promote and/or implement these interventions. Methods Five databases were searched and articles published in English, Dutch, German, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish were included. Only studies that focussed on a mode shift from car use towards active transport in a general adult population, which were published in peer reviewed journals and which investigated effectiveness were included. Intervention tools used were categorized by using the model of Hoogerwerf & Herweijer, as either legal, economic (subsidy, reward system, penalty), communicative (written materials, behavioural tools) and physical tools (providing bicycles, providing better bicycle facilities at work, adjustment of the environment). Results Nineteen studies met our inclusion criteria. Studies included described work-place-based interventions, architectural and urbanistic adjustments, population-wide interventions, and bicycle-renting systems. Nearly all studies (except three) showed positive effects concerning a mode shift. Most of the included studies used more than one intervention tool and the tools used differed between types of interventions. However, information about the statistical significance of these results was often lacking and the study methodologies used were not of high quality. Conclusion Nearly all studies showed results in a positive direction. However, the quality of the included studies was mostly low and intervention characteristics were poorly described.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-280
JournalTransportation Research Part A-Policy and Practice
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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