Can the use of Bus Rapid Transit lead to a healthier lifestyle in urban South Africa? the SUN Study

Bartels, Clare, Kolbe-Alexander, Tracy, Behrens, Roger, Hendricks, Sharief and Lambert, Estelle V. (2016) Can the use of Bus Rapid Transit lead to a healthier lifestyle in urban South Africa? the SUN Study. Journal of Transport and Health, 3 2: 200-210. doi:10.1016/j.jth.2016.04.003

Author Bartels, Clare
Kolbe-Alexander, Tracy
Behrens, Roger
Hendricks, Sharief
Lambert, Estelle V.
Title Can the use of Bus Rapid Transit lead to a healthier lifestyle in urban South Africa? the SUN Study
Journal name Journal of Transport and Health   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2214-1405
Publication date 2016-06
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jth.2016.04.003
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 3
Issue 2
Start page 200
End page 210
Total pages 11
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract

There is a growing body of evidence that transport-related physical activity (PA) can positively contribute to population levels of PA, however limited data are available from Africa. Within South Africa, strategies and policies to support greater non-motorised and public transport use have been identified as a national policy priority, leading in part to the development of the MyCiTi Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in Cape Town. The aims of this study were to evaluate the difference in active travel choices between users and non-users of the MyCiTi services, and to determine the contribution of active travel towards total PA.


Intercept interviews using a short self-reported questionnaire were conducted with 1204 BRT passengers. A similar self-reported questionnaire was distributed to non-BRT users (n=558) employed at workplaces along the BRT feeder routes. In the final analysis, 1321 valid surveys were included.


Cost savings and safety from crime were the main reasons reported for using MyCiTi services. Non-BRT users cited convenience of car travel and short travelling distances as the main reasons for not using these services. Commuting to work (75%) was the main trip purpose amongst BRT-users. Nearly all (92.6%) BRT-users walked as part of their travel journey. BRT-users accumulated significantly more active travel time (ß=79.0, 95% CI=59.6, 98.3) and total PA time (ß=113.7, 95% CI=34.4, 193.1) per week than non-users, after adjusting for confounding variables. In addition, 36% of BRT-users achieved the recommended guidelines of 150 min of moderate-vigorous intensity PA per week with active travel alone and were more likely to achieve the guidelines than non-users (OR=2.4, 95% CI=1.9, 3.0).


This study highlights the potential of BRT for increasing population-levels of PA in South Africa, as part of an inter-sectoral strategy to promote health and prevent non-communicable diseases.
Keyword Active travel
Physical activity
South Africa
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences Publications
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Created: Wed, 01 Jun 2016, 13:29:24 EST by Sandrine Ducrot on behalf of School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences