skip to primary navigation skip to content

MRC Epidemiology Unit : Data Sharing

Studying at Cambridge


Traffic and Health in Glasgow Study

Traffic and Health in Glasgow Study


This study was based around the opening of an extension to the M74 motorway in Glasgow, which is the largest city in Scotland and is characterised by extremes of affluence and deprivation. The intervention, which formed part of a wider strategic initiative to regenerate the ‘Clyde Gateway’ area, comprised a new five-mile, six-lane section of motorway opened in 2011 along with associated changes to the urban landscape such as junctions, slip roads, and housing and retail developments. The new motorway runs through predominantly deprived neighbourhoods in southeastern Glasgow, mostly elevated above ground and parallel to an existing railway line. Proponents claimed that the new motorway would improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists on local streets and help regenerate local communities, while objectors argued that it would encourage car use, degrade the local environment and deter local walking and cycling.

We aimed to address the following primary research questions:

1. What are the individual, household and population impacts of a major change in the urban built environment on travel and activity patterns, road traffic accidents and well-being?

2. How are these impacts distributed between different socioeconomic groups?

We also aimed to address the following secondary research questions:

3. What environmental changes have occurred in practice?

4. How are the effects of the environmental changes experienced by local residents?

5. How are any changes in behaviour or well-being mediated and enacted at individual and household levels?

This mixed-method controlled before-and-after study was built on the foundations of a baseline cross-sectional study previously undertaken in 2005 in three local study areas in Glasgow: the ‘M74 corridor’ intervention area (‘South’) and two matched control areas, one surrounding the existing M8 motorway (‘East’) and one with no comparable major road infrastructure (‘North’). Within each area, graded measures of the proximity of the motorway to each participant’s home served as a further basis for controlled comparisons. We used a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to evaluate changes in health and health-related behaviour, and to investigate how these changes were experienced and brought about. The study comprised six main elements:

  • An environmental survey to characterise the intervention
  • A core follow-up survey of local residents in 2013, to compare changes in neighbourhood perceptions, travel behaviour (using a one-day travel record), physical activity (short IPAQ) and well-being (SF-8 and SWEMWBS) in the three study areas, using a combination of cohort and repeat cross-sectional analyses. 1345 participants (mean age 49; 61% women) provided valid data at baseline and 1343 did so at follow-up, of whom 365 provided valid data at both time points and thereby formed a longitudinal cohort
  • A detailed quantitative sub-study of 196 survey participants in 2014-15 (mean age 54; 55% women), using accelerometers and global positioning system receivers to quantify differences in neighbourhood-specific and overall physical activity between study areas
  • A detailed qualitative sub-study involving a combination of semi-structured, photovoice and walkalong interviews with 30 survey participants purposively sampled from two contrasting localities within 400 metres of the new motorway, along with 12 other key informants, in 2014-15
  • Analyses of existing national population datasets to evaluate the impact of the intervention on road traffic accidents (using police STATS19 data, 1997-2014), and to elaborate the evaluation of its impact on travel behaviour (using Scottish Household Survey travel diary data, 2009-2013)
  • A programme of community and stakeholder engagement to help shape the final study design, elicit a wider range of accounts, and develop a shared understanding and interpretation of the emerging findings.

Study Level Descriptors [Mar 2017]

Data Releases

For any queries about the data releases and mapping matters contact datasharing@mrc-epid.

Release 1:
The current release.

Data Dictionary [Core survey release 1 version 1: March 2017]




Questionnaires, metadata and content are provided to enable and facilitate the sharing of study data, to maximise their value to the research community through assisting researchers. All images, content and logos have related IP and copyright and therefore no other uses are warranted by their availablity. For any other purpose please contact datasharing@mrc-epid.

Information created: xx Mar 2017 by A Dickinson
Information last updated: xx Mar 2017 by Adam Dickinson.