Research Impact: Natural experiments are considered a priority for examining causal associations between the built environment and physical activity. Few natural experiments to date have examined the effects of walking and cycling infrastructure on PA and active transport in adults, and none have examined the effects of such changes on PA and active transport to school among adolescents. Since 2014, on-road and off-road cycling infrastructure construction has occurred in some Dunedin neighbourhoods, including the neighbourhoods of 6 out of 12 secondary schools. Pedestrian-related infrastructure changes began in 2018. This natural experiment follows a large comprehensive baseline survey involving all 12 secondary schools in Dunedin city, which recruited 1780 adolescents aged 13–18 years. The study will generate relevant information for key stakeholders for planning future school-, neighbourhood- and city-wide built environment changes to encourage active transport to school as a means of equitably increasing physical activity and decreasing sedentary behaviour among adolescents.
Mandic, S., Hopkins, D., Bengoechea, E.G., Moore, A., Sandretto, S., Coppell, K., Ergler, K., Keall, M., Rolleston, A., Kidd, G., Wilson, G. & Spence, J.C. (2020). Built Environment Changes and Active Transport to School among Adolescents: BEATS Natural Experiment Study Protocol. BMJ Open, 10:e034899. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2019-034899