Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Validating walkability indices: How do different households respond to the walkability of their neighbourhood?

by Kevin Manaugh and Ahmed M. El-Geneidy

Recent years have seen a continued shift in land use and transportation planning priorities towards issues of neighborhood walkability. An inviting pedestrian environment with access to commercial, leisure and school destinations is seen as a key component of walkability. Walkability indices have grown in popularity, due in part to their potential to measure qualities of livability. However, it is not clear how well these indices predict actual pedestrian behavior. Many studies have not been able to adequately analyze the effects of these walkability indices across trip purposes and for households with varying characteristics. This study analyzes 44,266 home-based trips obtained from the 2003 Montréal Origin-Destination survey. Several statistical models are built to examine the correlation of different walkability scores and household travel behavior while controlling for individual, household and trip characteristics. Further clustering of households allows the calculation of elasticities across household types. Our findings show that the examined walkability indices are highly correlated with walking trips for most non-work trip purposes; however, socio-demographic characteristics also play a key role. Most importantly, the results show that households with more mobility choices are more sensitive to their surroundings than those with less choice. Our findings highlight the fact that a walkability index will not have the same correlation with travel behavior for all individuals or households. Therefore, solutions to encourage non-walkers to start walking need to vary depending on the socioeconomic characteristics of the neighborhood.

more about walkability:

Steps Forward: Review and Recommendations for Research on Walkability, Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Health

Environmental Correlates of Walking and Cycling: Findings From the Transportation, Urban Design, and Planning Literatures


Cleanliness from a car

Neighborhood Design and the Accessibility of the Elderly: An Empirical Analysis in Northern California

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