University of Oulu

Kärmeniemi, M., Lankila, T., Rönkkö, E., Nykänen, K., Koivumaa-Honkanen, H., & Korpelainen, R. (2022). Active transportation policy and practice in the city of Oulu from 1998 to 2016—A mixed methods study. Journal of Transport and Land Use, 15(1), 691–708.

Active transportation policy and practice in the city of Oulu from 1998 to 2016 : a mixed methods study

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Author: Kärmeniemi, Mikko1; Lankila, Tiina2,3; Rönkkö, Emilia4;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Population Health, University of Oulu
2Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu
3Department of Sport and Exercise Medicine, Oulu Deaconess Institute
4Oulu School of Architecture, University of Oulu
5City of Oulu, Department of Urban and Environmental Services
6Department of Psychiatry, University of Eastern Finland
7Department of Psychiatry, Kuopio University Hospital
8Department of Psychiatry, Lapland Hospital District
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: University of Minnesota, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-07-04


Land use and transportation policies have been recognized globally as major sources of physical inactivity, but there has been a gap between research and policy implementation. Our objective for this research was to produce an integrated view of community planning policies and the association between urban form characteristics and transportation mode choices in the city of Oulu from 1998 to 2016.

Our findings showed that increasing density and diversity of the urban form, emphasizing active transportation, and developing the city center were highlighted in the community and transportation planning policies. In practice, urban form development focused on the inner city, but in the outer urban area and urban fringe, sprawl and car dependency increased. Overall, the active transportation mode share decreased by 2 percentage points during the follow-up, but increases in density, mix and access networks were associated with increased walking and cycling compared to car use.

In conclusion, no consensus was established in Oulu to limit the dominance of private motor vehicles. Decreased active transportation mode share might have been due to inadequately assessed functional mix outside the inner city, increased urban sprawl and building more capacity for cars. In the future, stronger political leadership, increased density, better access to nearby services combined with investments in public transportation will be required to meet the policy goals.

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Series: Journal of transport and land use
ISSN: 1938-7849
ISSN-E: 1938-7849
ISSN-L: 1938-7849
Volume: 15
Issue: 1
Pages: 689 - 708
DOI: 10.5198/jtlu.2022.2034
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: This study was funded by the Academy of Finland Profi6 336449, Juho Vainio Foundation and the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.
Copyright information: © 2022 Mikko Kärmeniemi, Tiina Lankila, Emilia Rönkkö, Kari Nykänen, Heli Koivumaa-Honkanen & Raija Korpelainen. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial License 4.0.