Employer schemes to encourage walking to work: Feasibility study incorporating an exploratory randomised controlled trial

Lead investigator
Dr. Suzanne Audrey, University of Bristol

Substantial health benefits can be achieved by taking 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per day but most adults in the UK do not achieve this. Walking is a familiar, convenient, and free form of exercise that can be incorporated into everyday life.

Aims & objectives
This study will implement a workplace-based intervention to encourage walking to work, test methods of measuring changes in the number of employees who walk to work, and examine costs and benefits to employees and employers.
Study design

Randomised controlled trial; feasibility study incorporating two phases in the MRC’s framework for evaluating complex interventions.

Phase I

  • A review of current resources that promote walking (particularly the benefits of walking to work) will be undertaken.
  • Focus groups with employees and interviews with employers will be conducted in three workplaces (small, medium, large) outside Bristol to finalise the intervention design.

Phase II

  • An exploratory randomised trial will take place in 12 workplaces (six intervention, six control – not involved with the first phase) in Bristol to examine recruitment and retention rates and variation in outcome measures, estimate possible effect sizes and explore other requirements of a full-scale trial.
  • An integral process evaluation will include post-intervention interviews with employers, ‘walk to work’ promoters, employees who become walkers, and employeers who are non-walkers. These will examine the context, delivery and receipt of the intervention, and facilitators and barriers of ‘walk to work’ initiatives from the perspectives of employers and employees.
  • An assessment of intervention costs to participating employers and employees will also be undertaken.
Further information & publications
Start date
October 2011
End date
December 2013
Trial register number