User demographics and physical activity behaviors on a newly constructed urban rail/trail conversion

Julian A. Reed, Steven P. Hooker, Suresh Muthukrishnan, Brent Hutto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background: To examine demographic characteristics and physical activity (PA) behaviors of trail users on a newly constructed 2-mile urban rail/trail (ie, abandoned rail line converted to a recreational trail). Methods: A systematic evaluation process was initiated to monitor PA behaviors using the System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC). Results: Slightly more males (n = 2578, 54%) than females (n = 2198, 46%) were observed using the rail/trail since its inception. A significant age group difference (F = 16.68, P < .001) was observed among users with the vast majority being adults (n = 3317, 69%). Women were 2.2 times more likely than men (95% CI 1.7-3.0) to be sedentary rather than vigorously active adjusted for age and race. Whites were 2.8 times more likely than nonwhites (95% CI 2.4-3.2) to engage in vigorous activity rather than walking, adjusted for age and gender. Rail/trail users resided on average 2.89 miles from the trail. Discussion: The most frequent users of the rail/trail were male, white adults, and observed PA varied for gender and age. More research is needed to better understand differences in patterns of trail use by various population groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)534-542
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Built environment
  • Direct observation
  • Greenway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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