Increasing stair climbing in a train station: The effects of contextual variables and visibility

Francis Eves, Ellinor Olander, G Nicoll, A Puig-Ribera, C Griffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Citations (Scopus)


Accumulation of physical activity during daily living is a current public health target that is influenced by the layout of the built environment. This study reports how the layout of the environment may influence responsiveness to an intervention. Pedestrian choices between stairs and the adjacent escalators were monitored for 7 weeks in a train station (Birmingham, UK). After a 3.5 week baseline period, a stair riser banner intervention to increase stair climbing was installed on two staircases adjacent to escalators and monitoring continued for a further 3.5 weeks. Logistic regression analyses revealed that the visibility of the intervention, defined as the area of visibility in the horizontal plane opposite to the direction of travel (termed the isovist) had a major effect on success of the intervention. Only the largest isovist produced an increase in stair climbing. Additionally, stair climbing was more common during the morning rush hour and at higher levels of pedestrian traffic volume. The layout of the intervention site can influence responsiveness to point-of-choice interventions. Changes to the design of train stations may maximize the choice of the stairs at the expense of the escalator by pedestrians leaving the station. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-303
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2009


  • Interventions
  • Visibility
  • Isovist
  • Stair climbing
  • Lifestyle physical activity


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