Improving methods for measuring stair use in public spaces

Only 22 percent of Americans are active enough to enjoy the health benefits of physical activity, and the U.S. population is experiencing joint epidemics in both obesity and diabetes. Recent recommendations for promoting physical activity encourage efforts that promote the design of active living environments that can be integrated with individual lifestyle activities such as stair climbing. Stair climbing can be an excellent form of physical activity, and point-of-decision prompts have proven effective in encouraging significant numbers of people to use them instead of elevators or escalators. More studies are needed to evaluate how to best utilize point-of-decision prompts as a population approach to increasing physical activity. Additionally, these studies are currently quite burdensome because of the amount of time and staff required to measure stair usage. This grant will result in the following deliverables: (1) development of new technology for stair use studies that will eliminate the need for manual counting of people; and (2) demonstration that computer technology can be used to encourage and sustain increased stair usage. This project will be considered successful if new technology is developed that eliminates the manpower required in stair use studies, and if the pilot project can demonstrate an increase in the number/percentage of people using stairs compared to previous studies.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $44,439.00

Awarded on: 1/31/2002

Time frame: 2/1/2002 - 7/31/2003

Grant Number: 44256


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, 02139-4307


Patricia K. Greer
Project Director


Stephen S. Intille
Project Director