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Build Surrey could be good for your health

May 8, 2012

Trams and traffic at Railway Square
Trams in Sydney have always drawn a crowd (State Records NSW via Flickr)

Why? Pretty simple – if it reduces your commute, you’re going to be healthier.

That’s the conclusion of a study to be published next month in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The blog post I’ve linked to above (from the Atlantic Cities) does point out that there are plenty of other questions to be considered, like is sitting in your car on your commute any different than sitting in your chair at work, or sitting on a bus?

I think you can throw out the sitting in your chair at work part, that’s a given. It’s what you do outside of that time that is truly relevant to the study. As for alternate modes of commuting – the bus or the train – there are two things to be considered that make a difference: 1. the walk to and from the bus/train 2. you don’t always sit.

The standard maximum distance from door to stop in North America is figured to be roughly 400 metres.

People will walk further if the transit mode is quicker (ie a train). You’d figure it’s a converse number if they are driving. People will only drive places if parking is convenient, otherwise they’ll drive somewhere else. They aren’t walking the same distances as they do when they are using transit.

So, Surrey’s moral of the story? Creating a downtown core is going to make us healthier, but only if there’s commensurate transit development.

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