PEAT is a computer-based instrument for trained observers to assess physical characteristics of community trails and paths, including design, amenity, and aesthetics/maintenance items. PEAT has acceptable inter-observer reliability and validity for most of its primary items and can be used by researchers and practitioners.
To determine how physical characteristics of trails may influence use, reliable and valid audit tools are needed. 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 ICCs were calculated to assess inter-observer reliability and validity. 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 0.69 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. PEAT has acceptable inter-observer reliability and validity for most of its primary items and appears ready for use by researchers and practitioners.
To obtain a copy of the PEAT tool (in Microsoft Access), please contact Active Living Research at firstname.lastname@example.org.