Chriqui, J.F., Leider, J., Thrun, E., Nicholson, L.M., & Slater, S.J. (2017). Pedestrian-Oriented Zoning is Associated with Reduced Income and Poverty Disparities in Adult Active Travel to Work, United States. Prev Med. 95(Suppl), S126-S133.
Active travel to work can provide additional minutes of daily physical activity. While the literature points to the relationship between zoning, equity and socioeconomic status, and physical activity, no study has quantitatively explored these connections. This study examined whether zoning may help to moderate any income and poverty inequities in active travel and taking public transit to work. Research was conducted between May 2012 and June 2015. Zoning data were compiled for 3914 jurisdictions covering 45.45% of the U.S. population located in 471 of the most populous U.S. counties and 2 consolidated cities located in 48 states and the District of Columbia. (Sensitivity analyses also captured unincorporated areas which, with the municipalities, collectively covered ~72% of the U.S. population.) Zoning codes were obtained and evaluated to assess the pedestrian-orientation of the zoning codes. Public transit use, active travel to work, median household income, and poverty data were obtained for all study jurisdictions from the 2010–2014 American Community Survey estimates. Associations were examined through multivariate regression models, controlling for community sociodemographics, clustered on county, with robust standard errors. We found that certain pedestrian-oriented zoning provisions (e.g., crosswalks, bike-pedestrian connectivity, street connectivity, bike lanes, bike parking, and more zoning provisions) were associated with reduced income and/or poverty disparities in rates of public transit use and active travel to work. Findings from this study can help to inform cross-sectoral collaborations between the public health, planning, and transportation fields regarding zoning for pedestrian-orientation and active travel.