Exploring the use of active commuting as part of the COVID–19 recovery

  • Adam Mitchell

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Introduction:During the COVID-19 lockdowns many UK adults switched from using their car or publictransport to commute to an active form of commuting, including cycling and walking. Theaim of this study was to explore the views of adults who became new active commutersduring one of the 2020 COVID-19 lockdowns and to identify ways active commuting couldform part of the pandemic recovery.Methods:Ethics approval was granted by the University of Strathclyde School of PsychologicalSciences ethics committee. Participants were recruited via social media and word of mouth.Participants were eligible if they were over 18 years old and self-identified as switching toactive commuting during lockdown. Once consent was obtained online, participants (n=9)reported their demographics and completed a 30-minute Zoom interview following a semistructured interview guide. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and thematic analysis of theinterview transcripts produced key themes and sub-themes.Results:From the analysis, four main themes were extracted to keep focus on the project overarchingaim and objectives. These themes were: benefits of active commuting; the barriers to activecommuting; effects on mental health and well-being; and maintenance of behaviour changepost COVID-19 lockdowns. Example sub-theme for each main theme included: reducedstress and increased confidence; poor road conditions; economic and environmental benefits;and flexibility.Discussion:Local and national governments are facing the grand global challenges of declining mentaland physical health and climate change in the COVID-19 recovery. A switch to activecommuting can tackle all these crises. This study provides much needed qualitative data tounderstand how active commuting was used during lockdowns and can be used in the earlystages of intervention development. While barriers do exist, switching to an active commuteshould be prioritised as part of the COVID-19 recovery.
Date of Award21 Sept 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsUniversity of Strathclyde
SupervisorDeirdre Harrington (Supervisor) & Fiona Muirhead (Supervisor)

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