Through our partnership with the Canadian Automobile Association, Canada Walks was able to include some questions specifically about walking in a national Ekos poll conducted in June 2015. The survey asked people about their behaviours and attitudes toward walking.
45% of Canadians reported that it wouldn?t be difficult to commit to walking 30 minutes a day. More than 70% of those surveyed agreed that walking is a form of exercise with real health benefits and also find walking to be a pleasant and relaxing activity. These are great building blocks for a movement to get Canadians walking more.
However, the average number of walks that Canadians take weekly of at least ten minutes is fairly low at five minutes. This does not come close to meeting the physical activity guidelines for adults. And although the duration that people walk for seems high at 42 minutes, 44% of respondents reported walking 20-60 minutes when they walk, so this skewed the results a bit.
We're seeing the most uptake of walking during personal time ? for errands (59%), to parks/playgrounds (57%) and visiting (47%), and far less for commuting to work (31%) or school (20%). These are areas we can continue to work on to increase the mode share of walking in the transportation mix.
While 77% of respondents agree that they should walk more often, they identified obstacles such as having a disability or mobility issue (20%); no sidewalks or pathways (16%); or safety concerns in the neighbourhood (13%).
Not surprisingly, the biggest barrier that people identified was time (50%), so the message is still "build it into your daily life" rather than trying to fit it in as a separate activity. Active travel to work and school are great opportunities to do this!
It's also interesting to note that a clear majority of survey respondents support walkability initiatives such as enforcing lower speed limits (61%); increased spending on walking infrastructure (80%); and better snow and ice removal on sidewalks (88%).
Canada Walks agrees that these are priority areas. We promote the value of walking and walkability, and work with partners to help build Canada?s walking movement. Thanks to CAA for their shared interest in walk friendly communities.