Troped, P.J., Cromley, E.K., Fragala, M.S., Melly, S.J., Hasbrouch, H.H., Gortmaker, S.L., & Brownson, R.C. (2006). Development and Reliability and Validity Testing of an Audit Tool for Trail/Path Characteristics: The Path Environment Audit Tool (PEAT). Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 3(S1), S158-S175.
Background: To determine how trail characteristics may influence use, reliable and valid audit tools are needed.
Methods: The Path Environment Audit Tool (PEAT) was developed with design, amenity, and aesthetics/maintenance items. Two observers independently audited 185 trail segments at 6 Massachusetts facilities. GPS-derived items were used as a “gold standard.” Kappa (k) statistics, observed agreement and intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) were calculated to assess inter-observer reliability and validity. Results: Fifteen of 16 primary amenity items had k-values ≥ 0.49 (“moderate”) and all had observed agreement ≥ 81%. Seven binary design items had k-values ranging from 0.19 to 0.71 and three of 5 ordinal items had ICCs ≥ 0.52. Only two aesthetics/maintenance items (n = 7) had moderate ICCs. Observed agreement between PEAT and GPS items was ≥0.77; k-values were ≥ 0.57 for 7 out of 10 comparisons.
Conclusions: PEAT has acceptable reliability for most of its primary items and appears ready for use by researchers and practitioners.