Running as Transport: Update 1

I’ve now reached the point of this short project where most of the data collection is complete and the analysis is just about to get into full swing – so I thought it time for a brief update!

Road Crossing Run

Coinciding with my temporary move back to the Midlands, the majority of my ‘data collection’ is now complete, having predominantly been based in Guildford and London. The last couple of weeks have seen me do a whole array of things to help me understand how people use running as a form of transport – both purposefully in the form of run-commuting and perhaps unintentionally in the form of emergency running (people running to catch trains or cross the road). So far I’ve done:

  • 4 days observation at Guildford train station
  • 1 day observation at a busy road crossing in Guildford
  • 50 person detailed survey on run-commuting
  • 5 go-along run-commute interviews
  • 5 ‘standard’ run-commute interviews 
  • Mapping of 10 run-commuters commuting routes

Still on the boil:

  • Larger but more descriptive survey on run-commuting. See here

The research has been really interesting and I’ve been trying to draw threads between the two types of running-transport. So far they consist of:

  • What is the motive force to run?
  • How does the physical environment encourage or discourage running as transport?
  • What does the running-transport body look like?
  • How is running-transport experienced?
  • Who are transport runners?
  • How does running-transport compare to other types of running?
  • How far do people run for transport? How quickly? How frequently?
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of running-transport?
  • What are the facilities and infrastructures are needed to support running-transport?
  • How can running-transport be encourage or planned for?
  • How do people perceive running-transport?

I’m sure much more will come out once the analysis is done more coherently. I’ve been really thrilled to see the reaction this project has got from both the running and academic community, and beyond. I’m working with the run2work campaign to get the second survey to a greater audience, South West Trains (who run Guildford station) want to see the results and implications of the work, I’ve had a phone call from Runner’s World USA today to hear about the project, Guildford Borough Council are interested in what the research may mean for their transport planning and I’ve had a few other enquiries from others with an interest in run-commuting. Most pleasing though has been from the runners I have interviewed and their intrigue into what I’m doing and what I may do or hope for with the findings of the project. Truth is, I don’t quite know yet but I’ll be excited to see which paths this work takes me. 

If you have any questions or want to chat at the work – do get hold of me.


One thought on “Running as Transport: Update 1

  1. katyleighkennedy says:

    sounds absolutely fascinating stuff, Simon! I don’t usually run-commute to uni as it’s a bit far, but I often use running to places as a way of fitting running into my life: errands, bits of light shopping, popping to the bank or to pick the kids up from school etc. I think of it as both functional running with a purpose and also as a time management technique.

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