HCR.20.070 – Stimulating health and well-being via active commuting

Route: Health care research, sickness prevention and treatment

Cluster question: 072 How do a healthy lifestyle and wholesome habits promote good health and prevent illness?

Before the corona pandemic half of the adult population did not meet public health guidelines for recommended levels of physical inactivity and this figure has further increased due to the recent lock-down. At the same time, (before corona) around 30% of the adult population did meet these guidelines simply by travelling actively to work. Because the capacity of public transport will likely be reduced for a prolonged period of time, people are switching to alternative modes, either the car or the (e-)bike. How can we make sure people switch to the latter and not the former? We believe employers play a crucial role here. They have the means to reach their employees and they have an important stake, employees travelling actively to work are more productive employees (lower sick absence). This project seeks to empower employers by developing and testing tools to stimulate active commuting among their employees. At the same, it seeks to deepen and broaden our fundamental knowledge regarding active travel and the associated health benefits. For example, we know travelling actively positively influences our health, but to what extent does it also positively affect our subjective well-being and through which mechanisms (e.g. reduced stress, better quality of sleep, increased feelings of competence)? In addition, it seeks to unravel important questions related to causality. For example, does active travel make people healthier, or are healthy people more inclined to travel actively? And to what extent does active travel substitute or complement other forms of physical activity? To answer these fundamental questions we aim to adopt state-of-the-art data collection techniques (e.g. experience sampling methods using a smartphone app) as well as novel statistical methodologies to test complex causal structures. In this, we aim to merge data collection with testing tools for employers, effectively creating real-world living labs within organisations.


active commuting, causality, employers, health, living lab, subjective well-being

Other organisations

Data Kennis Hub Gezond Stedelijk Leven, Maastricht University (UM), Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (RIVM), Utrecht University (UU)


Organisation Delft University of Technology (TUD)
Name Dr. ir. M. (Maarten) Kroesen
E-mail m.kroesen@tudelft.nl
Website https://www.tudelft.nl/tbm/over-de-faculteit/afdelingen/engineering-systems-and-services/people/associate-professors/drir-m-maarten-kroesen/