PHRC Phase 2 (2011-2019) projects – Cross-cutting projects

Promoting health and protecting the environment: a systematic review of qualitative research of behaviours with health and environmental benefits

Lead investigator

Professor Hilary Graham, Department of Health Sciences, University of York


People’s everyday travel behaviours have both health and environmental impacts. Walking and cycling, either as single travel modes or alongside using public transport, are more health-promoting than sedentary forms of travel like car usage; they also have much smaller environmental footprints. Policies at local and national level are seeking to align health and environmental goals and, in particular, to encourage travel behaviour with both health and environmental benefits.

Qualitative studies are playing an increasingly important part in informing policy. They are recognised to shed a unique light on people’s everyday behaviours and the views and experiences that shape their lifestyles.

Aims and objectives

To undertake two systematic reviews of qualitative studies of everyday

travel behaviours. The reviews are likely to focus on studies with

evidence on people's views and experiences of (i) their local travel

environment and (ii) different travel modes. Where evident, we will

note the influence of social inequalities on facilitators of and

barriers to travel behaviours with health and environmental benefits.


We are using established methods for systematically reviewing qualitative research with respect to searching (including CINAHL, Medline, Scopus and TRID), screening, quality appraisal, data extraction, coding and synthesis. We have uncovered a rich seam of relevant qualitative studies, including studies in the UK and other high-income countries. A project advisory group with experience of public health and environmental policy-making will be advising the project team on findings and policy insights.


  • Dr Kate Flemming, University of York
  • Professor Amanda Sowden, University of York
  • Professor Piran White, University of York

01/09/2016 - 31/03/2018 (19 months)