Improving infrastructure for walking and cycling is increasingly recommended as a means to promote physical activity, prevent obesity, and reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions. However, limited evidence from intervention studies exists to support this approach. Drawing on classic epidemiological methods, psychological and ecological models of behavior change, and the principles of realistic evaluation, we have developed an applied ecological framework by which current theories about the behavioral effects of environmental change may be tested in heterogeneous and complex intervention settings. Our framework guides study design and analysis by specifying the most important data to be collected and relations to be tested to confirm or refute specific hypotheses and thereby refine the underlying theories.
Ogilvie, D., Bull, F., Powell, J., Cooper, A. R., Brand, C., Mutrie, N., Preston, J., Rutter, H., & Consortium, IC. (2011). An applied ecological framework for evaluating infrastructure to promote walking and cycling: the iConnect study. American Journal of Public Health, 101(3), 473-481. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2010.198002