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Walking and bicycling for daily transportation are important ways to get regular physical activity, but such active travel has decreased dramatically over the past few decades. Investing transportation funds in sidewalks, traffic-calming devices, greenways, trails and public transit make it easier for people to walk and bike within their own neighborhoods and to other places they need to go. Designing communities that support active travel also creates recreational opportunities, promotes health and can even lower health care costs. Research that shows how infrastructure improvements promote active travel can help policy-makers, planners and other professionals create healthier communities for residents of all ages.

Download our Transportation-related Resources Sheet for the best evidence available about a variety of transportation-based strategies for promoting physical activity.

You can also view and download our The Role of Transportation in Promoting Physical Activity infographic.

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Strategies, Techniques and Best Practices for Building a Multinational Collaboration to Promote Physical Activity

Description: 

Workshop at the 2015 Active Living Research Annual Conference.

Date: 
02/22/2015
Abstract: 

Initiating and developing multi-national collaborations is a task- and socially-oriented, dynamic process that results in shared goals and products. The initiation of the collaboration can occur from any side, but the development process—the adoption of a shared identity with the collaboration, the transcultural learning and sharing, the tolerance of differences and the recognized benefits outweighing the limitations—must be endorsed by all sides to achieve desired outcomes. This workshop discussed strategies and techniques drawing on community based participatory research methodology, Cialdini’s Principles of Persuasion, reflective listening and cultural anthropology to identify culturally relevant practices and described lessons learned during the implementation of the CAMBIO Project – Canada and Mexico Battling Childhood Obesity and the development of the Multinational Collaboration to Increase Physical Activity in Hispanics. Participants in this workshop received classroom style training and interactive demonstrations along with small group work to master skills focused on identifying collaboration strengths and weaknesses along with areas of opportunity and threats to productivity. Specific examples came from innovations in reverse innovation, relevant technology and cultural trends.

Authors: 
Rebecca E. Lee, PhD, Arizona State University, Juan Lopez y Taylor, MD, University of Guadalajara, Lucie Lévesque, PhD, Queen’s University
Location by State: 

Open Streets: A Culture of Health for All

Description: 

Workshop at the 2015 Active Living Research Annual Conference.

Date: 
02/22/2015
Abstract: 

Open Streets are programs where the streets are opened to people and closed to cars. People traffic replaces car traffic, and the streets become “paved parks” where people of all ages, abilities, and social, economic, or ethnic background can come out and improve their health. When implemented correctly, Open Streets are one of the most effective and affordable large-scale health promotion programs any city can undertake.

The success of Open Streets programs is based on the fact that these programs are low-cost, because they use existing resources—the streets—to provide free, safe, and accessible space for play, physical activity and social interaction for people of all ages and abilities. The most promising Open Streets programs are found in Central and South America where thoughtful route designs, such as those in Bogota, Colombia and Guadalajara, Mexico, connect communities of various income level and social need, and can literally bring recreational opportunities and healthy lifestyle opportunities to people’s doorsteps.

Although programs, like Bogota’s Ciclovia, have inspired the growth of Open Streets in North America few programs have achieved the public health benefits associated with what we call ‘Healthiest Practice’ programs, like those in Bogota and Guadalajara.  In this workshop, participants were immersed in the central tenets of Healthiest Practice Open Streets programs, the opportunities for improved health and urban quality of life offered by Open Streets, and hopefully were inspired to help push forward an agenda to bring ‘Healthiest Practice’ Open Streets programs to everyone’s doorsteps.

Authors: 
Gil Peñalosa, MBA, PhDhc & Alyssa Bird, MScPl, 8-80 Cities
Location by State: 

Making the Case for Active Cities: The Co-Benefits of Designing for Active Living

Date: 
03/15/2015
Abstract: 

Creating "activity-friendly environments" is recommended to promote physical activity, but potential co-benefits of such environments have not been well described. An extensive but non-systematic review of scientific and "gray" literature was conducted to explore a wide range of literature to understand the co-benefits of activity-friendly environments on physical health, mental health, social benefits, safety/injury prevention, environmental sustainability, and economics. Five physical activity settings were defined: parks/trails, urban design, transportation, schools, and workplaces/buildings.

A peer-reviewed paper based on this report is available online through open access here.

Authors: 
James F. Sallis, PhD & Chad Spoon, MRP, Active Living Research
Location by State: 

Health Economic Assessment Tools (HEAT) for Walking and for Cycling

Date: 
02/22/2015
Description: 

Workshop at the 2015 Active Living Research Annual Conference.

Abstract: 

The World Health Organization’s Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) is designed to help users  conduct an economic assessment of the health benefits of walking or cycling by estimating the value of reduced mortality that results from specified amounts of walking or cycling. The tool can be used in a number of different situations, for example: 1) when planning a new piece of cycling or walking infrastructure. HEAT attaches a value to the estimated level of cycling or walking when the new infrastructure is in place. This can be compared to the costs of implementing different interventions to produce a benefit–cost ratio (and help to make the case for investment). 2) to value the reduced mortality from past and/or current levels of cycling or walking, such as to a specific workplace, across a city or in a country. It can also be used to illustrate economic consequences from a potential future change in levels of cycling or walking. 3) to provide input into more comprehensive economic appraisal exercises, or prospective health impact assessments. For example, to estimate the mortality benefits from achieving targets to increase cycling or walking, or from the results of an intervention project. The HEAT is evidence-based; built on expert consensus input, and has been built in conjunction with the World Health Organization using transparent evidence-based assumptions. This means it can be used with confidence to conduct economic assessments of walking and cycling interventions. The workshop will explain the basic workings of the HEAT, and then help participants to work through some examples of calculations. Participants with an online laptop or tablet will be able to work through their own examples using the tool at www.heatwalkingcycling.org.

Authors: 
Nick Cavill, PhD, MPH, MFPH, Cavill Associates Ltd
Location by State: 
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Developing a Practical Protocol to Diagnose a Neighborhood Environment for Healthy Communities in Korea

Date: 
02/25/2015
Description: 

Presentation at the 2015 Active Living Research Annual Conference.

Abstract: 

Background
Physical inactivity is one of major preventable health risks among the Korean population. According to the latest statistics, more than 60% of Korean adults do not engage in the recommended amount of walking, and it appears as if this percentage is increasing.  The rates of many public health challenges such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and depression have grown rapidly during the past decade. To cope with such challenges, both public health scientists and urban planners have been investigating the relationship between the built environment and health and devoted a great deal of effort to understanding the link between health and planning. However, until now, researchers have focused mainly on verifying and demonstrating the relationship between the built environment and health (including physical activities), not on determining ways to promote healthy communities in real-world contexts. In addition, few related policies have been implemented in Korea. The situations are the same in other countries, including the U.S. The purpose of this study was to develop and examine a systematic process (or protocol) for promoting healthy communities that encourage active, safe, pleasant, and socially-supportive living.  Local governments will be able to use the proposed protocol to locate the most problematic areas in their neighborhoods, identify the latent factors influencing them, and finally develop strategies for improving the environmental quality of such places.

Description
In this study, the authors designed a standardized protocol for diagnosing problem areas and prescribing strategies for mitigating the problems in a neighborhood environment and conducted a case study using the designed protocol. The protocol included instructions for collecting and analyzing data using three different research techniques:  map and archival data analysis, a site investigation, and user (or resident) surveys.  Following a detailed process that identified vulnerable places and major factors influencing environmental quality, the authors conducted a “triangulation” of the results of the analyses. Through the map and archival data analysis, this study examined the overall context of a neighborhood and arranged field investigations and collected resident surveys. Then, trained observers conducted field investigations to collect detailed and objective information about the physical environment and user behaviors.  Finally, user surveys provided data pertaining to residents’ subjective and integrative perception of the environmental quality of their neighborhood.  In particular, respondents provided spatial data by marking problematic places on a map.  To test its usability and improve the protocol, the authors conducted a case study, testing the designed protocol in a neighborhood of the City of Anyang, a local municipality located in the Seoul metropolitan area.

Lessons Learned
The results of the case study showed that the protocol as useful for identifying problematic areas in the neighborhood and the challenges that must be tackled to improve them. For instance, vulnerable places indicated by the three different methodological approaches generally coincided and particularly, detailed data collected from field investigations and surveys provided background information for identifying latent influencing factors. For example, the most problematic place was a narrow alley behind large commercial buildings. In particular, narrow and uneven pedestrian paths, frequent, dangerous contact between pedestrian and vehicle traffic, confusing signage, and stench from uncollected waste made the place unpleasant and inadequate for pedestrians, particularly for the disabled and elderly.

Conclusions
This study has important policy implications that differ from those of previous studies, particularly on the scale of a neighborhood, where citizens’ everyday lives occur.  For instance, the procedural process that this study proposed can be a useful tool with which each local municipality and its citizens can develop context-sensitive solutions for their own neighborhoods.

Next Steps
As an early prototype, the protocol still requires two improvements before it can work on a widespread basis.  First, the content and processes of the protocol currently create an undue burden on lay persons. For its widespread use, the protocol should be simpler and more concise. Second, the case study neighborhood consisted mainly of an urban, adult population. Therefore, future studies should test the protocol in diverse environmental settings that contain child, senior, and disabled populations.

Authors: 
Jacheol Kim, PhD, Gachon University
Location by State: 
Study Type: 

The Walking Renaissance: Insights from the Greater Los Angeles Area

Date: 
02/25/2015
Description: 

Presentation at the 2015 Active Living Research Annual Conference.

Abstract: 

Background
Walking is important in cities for reducing automobile use, and promoting public health through increased physical activity. It is critical not only as a stand-alone mode, but also as the gateway mode to public transit. But retrofitting an expansive auto-oriented region into a multimodal one that facilitates walking travel is challenging. Trends in walking travel as it relates to transit supply and density at the metropolitan scale have been seldom studied and remain poorly understood.

Objectives
This research seeks to address previous gaps by investigating walking trends within the greater Los Angeles region over the past decade, and exploring the determinants of change including sociodemographic factors and transit availability. This study also uses a more nuanced definition of walking trips compared to previous studies by separating walking as a primary mode from walking trips to/from transit stops/stations.

Methods
We use household travel survey information from the 2001 regional travel survey conducted by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and the 2009 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) to analyze trends in walking travel across 46 Regional Statistical Areas (RSAs) spread over five counties within the greater Los Angeles region. These travel survey data were merged with 2000 and 2010 U.S. Census data at the census tract level, corresponding with the years of the survey, in addition to transit data from SCAG. Dependent variables of interest include walking trip share and walking trip rate. Independent variables were selected based on findings from previous research, data availability and appropriateness at the subregional scale, and include the following variables aggregated at the RSA level: 1) population density; 2) employment density; 3) transit stop density; 4) proportion of households with children; 5) median household income.   Descriptive analysis of changes in aggregate walking trip shares and rates (with and without considering access/egress trips to transit as observations) were analyzed at the RSA level, and at the county level over the 2001-2009 period. To establish the direction of causality between independent variables and walking trips, we employed a fixed-effects regressions approach to investigate potential determinants of observed changes in our walking travel measures.

Results
The results show that walking has increased in the greater Los Angeles region from 2001 to 2009; statistically significant increases are observed in about 90 percent of the RSAs. Walking travel shares and rates were highest in the urbanized central and western Los Angeles basin. Additionally, increases in walking trips during this period generally correspond with increases in population, employment, and transit service, which were highest in Los Angeles County. Estimates from fixed-effects regression analysis generally suggest a positive association between population density and walking; RSAs that experienced greater increases in population density were associated with greater corresponding increases in non-transit related walking trips.    Households with children were associated with lower corresponding increases in walking trips, possibly due to increased errand trips by car. However, the transit-walking connection is unclear, except that transit investments have possibly been endogenously associated with ridership, and therefore areas with higher increases in transit stop density have experienced significantly higher increases in walk trips to and from transit stops and stations.

Conclusions
This study provides compelling evidence that residents of the greater Los Angeles region are taking a greater share of trips by walking relative to other modes; further, they are taking more walking trips per person on average in 2009 compared to 2001. In this traditionally auto-oriented region, the increase in walking trips during the past decade may represent a turning point.  While more detailed studies are needed to flesh out the precise, micro-scale factors that might most increase walking, the walking renaissance is real, and planners should continue to support and leverage pedestrian travel to promote public health and improve the environment.

Implications
These results have important policy implications for planning at the regional and metropolitan level. The Los Angeles region is undergoing a spatial transformation as they have embarked on a massive transit expansion program. These projects are often driven by planners and policy makers who embrace the notion that transit generates walking and creates walkable communities.  However, our evidence suggests that transit only has the potential to generate more walking trips through new access/egress trips in the short term; it can possibly promote overall walking in the longer term, if complemented with coordinated land use policies that improve the walking environment through increased urban densities, mixed land uses, and pedestrian-oriented design.

Authors: 
Kenneth Joh, PhD, Texas A&M University
Location by State: 
Population: 
Study Type: 

Where Do People Prefer to Walk? A Pedestrian Route Choice Model Developed from GPS Data

Date: 
02/25/2015
Description: 

Presentation at the 2015 Active Living Research Annual Conference.

Abstract: 

Background
Increasingly, promoting active travel is recognized as a public health policy alongside other concerns like congestion and greenhouse gas reduction. This is true not only for recreational travel but for everyday utilitarian travel as well. For many adults, walking for daily travel can be a substantial part of overall physical activity. While policy and funding have begun to reflect the importance of community walkability, much is still unknown about how well policies reflect actual preferences toward different walking environments. The purpose of this study is to better understand the types of routes pedestrians prefer using revealed preference GPS data.

Objectives
The study's main objective is to estimate a model of pedestrian route choice preference. The results of the model can be used to understand the willingness of people walking to go out of their way to avoid negative features and experience positive features along a route. The model is estimated in a way that would allow incorporation into traditional regional models of travel demand to better represent walking options.

Methods
We estimate a discrete choice, logit-based model of pedestrian route choice using GPS data. The person-based GPS data were collected as part of a larger longitudinal study of travel behavior in Portland, Oregon from 2010-2013. Data for 1,167 walk trips by 283 adults were available for analysis. Up to 20 alternatives to the observed path were generated for each walk trip using a random walk-based algorithm developed by Freijinger et al. (16). A path size logit model was estimated, accounting for both the alternative selection process and any overlap between the path options. Attributes of the person, trip, and walking environment were included in the models.

Results
We find that pedestrians are sensitive to attributes of the walking network, intersection crossing aids, and elements of the street and block face environment along urban routes. People walking are willing to go out of their way to use more attractive facilities, but their tolerance for detours is limited, perhaps more so than for cyclists. Neighborhood-scale commercial streets might serve as both attractive destinations and walking routes. Alleyways and unpaved streets do not seem to be useful to pedestrians, who only will use them if the distance saved is large. Terrain is perceived as a barrier only when very steep, and then only in the uphill direction. Finally, we find that joint travelers may prefer more direct routes than solo travelers. We find no significant differences in route preferences for female pedestrians.

Conclusions
When walking for utilitarian purposes, pedestrians do not choose their path at random but instead to maximize the utility of the route. Elements of the built environment can enhance or detract from a potential route. Both the street and adjacent walking environment correlate with route attractiveness.

Implications
Implications for practice and policy are twofold. First, it is useful and possible to model utility walk travel on equal footing with other travel modes such as driving, transit, and cycling. Pedestrians in our study show a preference for environmental attributes in addition to distance. They do not simply choose the shortest path between an origin and destination. While this is good news for policymakers, the second major implication is that people walking have a limited tolerance for going out of their way, perhaps lower than that of cyclists. For example, crossing aids must be densely placed along major streets to be useful to pedestrians. Other important findings for practice include an apparent dislike of unpaved streets and alleyways as walking options and a preference for neighborhood scale (non-arterial) commercial streets.

References

  1. FHWA. (2010, May). The National Bicycling and Walking Study: 15-year status report. United States Department of Transportation. Retrieved from http://katana.hsrc.unc.edu/cms/downloads/15-year_report.pdf.
  2. Porter, C., Suhrbier, J., & Schwartz, W. L. (1999). Forecasting bicycle and pedestrian travel: state of the practice and research needs. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 1674(-1), 94–101.
  3. Replogle, M. (1995). Integrating Pedestrian and Bicyle Factors Into Regional Transportation Planning Models: Summary of the State-of-the-art and Suggested Steps Forward. Environmental Defense Fund .
  4. Singleton, P. A., & Clifton, K. J. (2013). Pedestrians in regional travel demand forecasting models: State-of-the-practice. In 92nd Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC.
  5. Bomberg, M., Zorn, L., & Sall, E. (2013). Incorporating user based perspective of livability projects in SF-CHAMP mode choice models. Transportation Letters, 5(2), 83-95.
  6. Broach, J., Dill, J., & Gliebe, J. (2012). Where do cyclists ride? A route choice model developed with revealed preference GPS data. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 46(10), 1730-1740.
  7. Antonini, G., Bierlaire, M., & Weber, M. (2006). Discrete choice models of pedestrian walking behavior. Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, 40(8), 667-687.
  8. Verlander, N. Q., & Heydecker, B. G. (1997). Pedestrian route choice: an empirical study. Transportation Planning Methods: Proceedings of Seminar F held at the European Transport Forum Annual Meeting (Vol. P415, pp. 39–49). Presented at the European Transport Forum, Brunel University, England: PTRC Education and Research Services.
  9. Seneviratne, P. N., & Morrall, J. F. (1985). Analysis of factors affecting the choice of route of pedestrians. Transportation Planning and Technology, 10(2), 147–159.
  10. Bovy, P. H. L., & Stern, E. (1990). Route choice: wayfinding in travel networks. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  11. Weinstein Agrawal, A., Schlossberg, M., & Irvin, K. (2008). How Far, by Which Route and Why? A Spatial Analysis of Pedestrian Preference. Journal of Urban Design, 13(1), 81–98. doi:10.1080/13574800701804074.
  12. Borst, H. C., de Vries, S. I., Graham, J. M. A., van Dongen, J. E. F., Bakker, I., & Miedema, H. M. E. (2009). Influence of environmental street characteristics on walking route choice of elderly people. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 29, 477–484.
  13. Broach, J., McNeil, N.W., and Dill, J. (2014). Detecting Bike and Walk Travel Without Activity Diaries. Presented at the Active Living Research Annual Conference, San Diego, CA.
  14. Schüssler, N. and K. W. Axhausen. (2009a). Processing Raw Data from Global Positioning Systems Without Additional Information, Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, Transportation Research Board of the National Academies.
  15. Schüssler, N. & K. Axhausen. (2009b). Map-matching of GPS traces on high-resolution navigation networks using the multiple hypothesis technique. Working paper 568. IVT, ETH Zürich, Zürich.
  16. Frejinger, E., Bierlaire, M., & Ben-Akiva, M. (2009). Sampling of alternatives for route choice modeling. Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, 43(10), 984-994.
  17. Prato, C. G. (2009). Route choice modeling: past, present and future research directions. Journal of Choice Modelling, 2(1), 65-100.
  18. Ben-Akiva, M., & Lerman, S. (1985). Discrete choice analysis. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

 

Support / Funding Source
This research was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Active Living Research program and the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC), a national university transportation center funded by the US Department of Transportation.

Authors: 
Joseph Broach, MA Economics, Portland State University
Location by State: 
Population: 
Study Type: 

Point-of-Decision Prompts Increase Walking in a Large Metropolitan Airport: The Walk to Fly Study

Date: 
02/25/2015
Description: 

Presentation at the 2015 Active Living Research Annual Conference.

Abstract: 

Background
Only half of American adults meet the public health guideline for aerobic physical activity. Those who walk for transportation or for leisure are three times more likely to meet the aerobic guideline. Encouraging adults to walk is therefore a viable strategy to increase physical activity levels in the U.S. Point-of-decision prompts are recommended by The Guide to Community Preventive Services as a strategy to increase stair use as one form of physical activity. We found no study that examines the efficacy of point-of-decision prompts to encourage walking instead of using an automated mode of transport, like a train. The Walk to Fly study was designed to develop and implement point-of-decision prompts to encourage walking, rather than riding the train, in a large metropolitan airport, and to evaluate their impact. The findings from this study may help airports and other venues with automated options like people movers, use tested intervention strategies to help people choose to be physically active.

Objectives
The objective of this intervention study is to evaluate, in a large metropolitan airport, the impact of point-of-decision prompts to encourage walking to one’s concourse, versus riding the train, by comparing walking before and after installation of the prompts.

Methods
Travelers entering the transportation mall connecting the concourses of the airport may choose to ride the train (operational 4am-midnight), walk, or use a moving walkway, to get to their departure concourses. Six ceiling-mounted infrared sensors automatically count all travelers who enter the transportation mall terminus, and those who walk or use the moving walkway to continue to their concourses. The count of travelers riding the train is the difference between the entry, and the combined walk and walkway sensor counts. Counts are aggregated and logged in 15-minute frames. Any count frame with train ridership below 50% of travelers is suggestive of interruption of train service and is dropped from the analysis. Sensors were validated against manual counts, and reconfigured to register fewer than 5% miscounts.  The point-of-decision prompts were developed through two surveys with probability samples of 517 travelers seated at the boarding areas of the airport. Findings from the surveys showed travelers would be more likely to walk than ride the train if the prompts clearly showed the distance and time to walk to concourses. Sensor counts were analyzed to determine the average number of travelers entering the transportation mall terminus daily and to discern mode choice before and after installation of point-of-decision prompts. A Bayesian time-series analysis was used to estimate counts in the absence of an intervention, which was compared to actual counts to assess impact of the intervention. Analyses were performed using R (version 3.0.2).

Results
Sensor validation was completed on June 14th, 2013. The findings represent 21,127,953 travelers counted from June 15th, 2013 through September 16th, 2014. On average, more than 46,000 travelers entered the transportation mall terminus daily – 99% of them during train operation hours. Point-of-decision prompts were installed on September 4th, 2014. Of travelers who entered when the train was operational, 10.4% walked or used the moving walkway before the prompts were installed, and 11.8% did so after. Taking into account variations in traveler counts over the week and over the year, after the prompts were installed the number of travelers walking or using the moving walkway increased by 18.5%, representing an estimated 833 additional travelers walking or using the moving walkway daily (Table).

Conclusions
Preliminary data obtained at one point-of-decision location at a large metropolitan airport show that, of 46,000 travelers/day, installation of prompts increased the number of travelers walking or using the moving walkway to get to their departure concourse by 18.5% (833 travelers/day) in the first 10 days of the intervention.

Implications
With 17 million travelers per year facing the decision to walk or ride the train at just one location in a large metropolitan airport, this intervention has the potential to increase walking among a large number of air travelers. The findings of the Walk to Fly study can be used to develop and evaluate interventions to promote walking at other airports and as an important component of physical activity promotion in public venues.

Support / Funding Source
The Kresge Foundation and the CDC Foundation.

Authors: 
Janet Fulton, PhD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Location by State: 
Population: 

Atlanta Streets Alive: A Movement Building a Culture of Health in an Urban Environment

Date: 
02/24/2015
Description: 

Presentation at the 2015 Active Living Research Annual Conference.

Abstract: 

Background
Ciclovias are multisectoral community-based programs that promote the use of public space for physical activity, recreation and socialization by closing streets temporarily to motorized vehicles, allowing access to pedestrians. The Ciclovias movement has grown exponentially worldwide, and in the US, where more than 70 events (called “Open Streets”) have been documented in different cities. The city of Atlanta hosted its first Ciclovia event,   Atlanta Streets Alive (ASA), in May 2010. For this initial event, the city closed 1.5 miles of streets in Downtown Atlanta and opened them for people to become physically active and enjoy a portion of the city safely and in the absence cars.  Since the initial launch of ASA, 8 additional events have been held in different parts of the city. Preliminary evidence has shown a positive association between Ciclovia programs and public health outcomes including  increased physical activity, improved social environments and air quality, enhanced perception of safety, and increased equity in access to recreational activities among low-income populations. In an effort to strengthen the evidence on the public health impact of “Open Streets” programs in the U.S, an evaluation sub-committee was established as part of the larger ASA steering committee. The sub-committee designed and implemented the evaluation of the first 5 ASA events from May 2010 to May 2012.  The purpose of the evaluation was to learn about the characteristics of ASA participants, the influence of the event on their physical activity, as well as their perceptions of safety and neighborhood social capital during the event.

Description
ASA’s evaluation had two components: participant counts and observation and a participant survey. Participant counts and observations included estimating the number of participants, their demographic characteristic, and type of physical activity they performed during the events. Participant surveys included 22 questions that assessed 5 components: (1) physical activity, (2) transportation mode to the event (3) social capital and safety perceptions, (4) characteristics of participation and perceptions about the event, and (5) demographics.

Lessons Learned
Participant counts The estimated participation at the 5 ASA events was 28,143 participants. The majority of participants were adults in each ASA event. Youth accounted for between 9 and 15% of participants.  The activity most commonly observed was walking across all five events. Survey A final sample of 589 surveys was included in the analysis. Overall, 19.4 percent of participants met the weekly PA recommendation of 150 minutes of PA during one ASA event. The estimated average number of minutes of PA for participants at the 3 events was 99 minutes. Walking and cycling were the most frequently primary activities reported at ASA (73.7% and 37.7%, respectively). Ninety-seven percent (97%) of participants reported feeling safe or very safe at ASA. Similarly most respondents agreed that ASA was an event that welcomed everyone (99.7%), and that people at “ASA” generally get along with each other (93.9%). Thirty eight percent (38%) of respondents indicated they would be at home indoors, watching TV, or on the computer if they were not participating at the event.

Conclusions
Attendance at ASA has increased significantly from approximately 5,000 in 2010 to more than 60,000 participants in 2013.  The route has expanded reaching some of the main streets in the city and increasing the number of miles of streets closings, ranging from 3 miles to 5 miles in 2013. Such growth suggests that ASA has been a widely received program, one that is beginning to achieve sustainability through partnerships and sponsorships. The preliminary findings of this study support previous research that have identified Ciclovias as promising interventions to increase PA levels while providing opportunities for recreation and health promoting social environments. The goals of increasing PA and decreasing sedentary time are important for population health in Atlanta given the strong evidence that shows that physical inactivity increases the risk of adverse health conditions including non-communicable diseases.5,6 Data from 2012 showed that 53.8% of the adult population in Metro Atlanta were not physically active at least moderately,7  60.9% were overweight or obese,8 and 8.7% had diabetes.7

Next Steps
This study provides important preliminary information to understand the potential impact that ASA can have in the local areas where it is implemented. However, future evaluations should increase efforts to move beyond cross-sectional evaluation to pre and post assessments in communities where ASA will be implemented for the first time. There is much to be learned from Open Streets events across the nation and internationally. More research is needed to build the evidence base for such programs.

References

  1. Sarmiento O, Torres A, Jacoby E, Pratt M, Schmid TL, Stierling G. The Ciclovía-Recreativa: A mass-recreational program with public health potential. J Phys Act Health. 2010 Jul;7 Suppl 2:S163–180.
  2. Meisel JD, Sarmiento OL, Montes F, Martinez EO, Lemoine PD, Valdivia JA, et al. Network analysis of Bogotá’s Ciclovía Recreativa, a self-organized multisectorial community program to promote physical activity in a middle-income country. Am J Health Promot AJHP. 2014 Jun;28(5):e127–136.
  3. Zieff SG, Hipp JA, Eyler AA, Kim M-S. Ciclovía initiatives: engaging communities, partners, and policy makers along the route to success. J Public Health Manag Pract JPHMP. 2013 Jun;19(3 Suppl 1):S74–82.
  4. Torres A, Sarmiento OL, Stauber C, Zarama R. The Ciclovia and Cicloruta programs: promising interventions to promote physical activity and social capital in Bogotá, Colombia. Am J Public Health. 2013 Feb;103(2):e23–30.
  5. Kohl HW, Craig CL, Lambert EV, Inoue S, Alkandari JR, Leetongin G, et al. The pandemic of physical inactivity: global action for public health. Lancet. 2012 Jul 21;380(9838):294–305.
  6. Lee I-M, Bauman AE, Blair SN, Heath GW, Kohl HW, Pratt M, et al. Annual deaths attributable to physical inactivity: whither the missing 2 million? Lancet. 2013 Mar 23;381(9871):992–3.
  7. American College of Sports Medicine. American Fitness Index. Full report 2012 [Internet]. [cited 2014 Aug 7]. Available from: http://americanfitnessindex.org/report/.
  8. CDC. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System-BRFSS City and County Data [Internet]. [cited 2014 Aug 7]. Available from: http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/brfss-smart/MMSARiskChart.asp?yr=2012&MMSA=5&cat=EX&qkey=8041&grp=0.
Authors: 
Andrea Torres, MPH, PhD candidate, Georgia State University
Location by State: 

Transit Use, Physical Activity, and Body Mass Index Changes: Objective Measures Associated With Complete Street Light Rail Construction

Date: 
02/23/2015
Description: 

Presentation at the 2015 Active Living Research Annual Conference.

Abstract: 

Background
Although Complete Streets interventions, which change street infrastructure to accommodate active transportation users, are popular, they are seldom evaluated for relationships with physical activity among area residents.

Objectives
We test whether physical activity (PA) increases and body mass index (BMI) measures decrease for those using a Complete Street intervention that extended a light rail line in Salt Lake City.

Methods
Residents living within 2km of the new line wore accelerometers and global positioning system (GPS) loggers for one week pre- and post-rail construction. Data were integrated so that we could discern who engaged in transit use when taking trips within the Complete Street corridor. The Complete Street intervention included five new residential TRAX stops along a new line extension (and a 6th non-residential stop at the airport), a bike path, and improved sidewalks. Participants completed surveys, had height and weight measures taken, and were fitted with the devices in their homes. Participants, typically recruited door-to-door, were selected to be over 18, able to walk a few blocks, intending to stay in the neighborhood ≥ 1 year, not pregnant, able to speak Spanish or English, and to wear the devices (at least 3 10-hour days) and fill out the surveys.  We use the subsample of 537 residents who had valid GPS data at both times.  GeoStats assigned trip modes to active travel and could identify walking, bus riding, and light rail riding.  Any trip that crossed into or through an area defined by a 40-meter buffer from street centerline, encompassing all five new residential TRAX stops, was counted as a trip that involved the new Complete Street.  The outcome variables include changes in accelerometer counts per minute (CPMs) and in measured BMI. An OLS regression estimated change in PA from Time 1 to Time 2 as a function of baseline measures of PA, plus socio-demographic control variables. A similar analysis was conducted on BMI change.  Effect code contrasts compared residents who never registered a transit trip that intersected the Complete Street buffer with the other three groups:  continuing riders, abandoned riders, and new riders.

Results
A test of the transit ridership groups shows significant changes in activity CPMs, F(10,517) = 13.67, p < .001.  Compared to those who never rode transit, those who abandoned using transit (from 2012 to 2013) experienced a decline in physical activity, t = -2.83 p = .005.  Compared to those who never rode transit, those who started to use transit in 2013 accrued more physical activity, t = 2.85, p = .005. The continuing transit riders did not experience much change in activity and their 2013 to 2102 change scores were not significantly different from those who never used transit.   Physical activity changes were consistent with BMI change scores (2013 BMI minus 2012 BMI).  Compared to those who never rode transit, those who abandoned using transit experienced an increase in measured BMI, t = 2.49, p = .013.  Compared to those who never rode transit, those who started riding transit had lower BMI change scores, which actually indicated a slight loss of BMI, t = -3.02, p < .003.

Conclusions
The Complete Street intervention demonstrated beneficial physical activity and BMI changes for new transit riders and detrimental changes for those who abandoned transit.  BMI changes were also significant and in the expected direction, despite the fact that the 2013 measures came after at most seven months after the new transit opportunities were provided.

Implications
Many endorse Complete Streets for their potential to support physical activity, obesity prevention, social equity, youth and elder mobility, pollution prevention, less automobile dependence and sprawl, open space preservation, and transit-oriented development. The current study underscores benefits to health conferred by transit use.

References

  1. McCann B. Completing Our Streets: The Transition to Safe and Inclusive Transportation Networks. Island Press; 2013.
  2. Litt JS, Reed HL, Tabak RG, et al. Active living collaboratives in the United States: Understanding characteristics, activities, and achievement of environmental and policy change. Preventing Chronic Disease. 2013;10(2).
  3. Rissel C, Curac N, Greenaway M, Bauman A. Physical activity associated with public transport use-a review and modelling of potential benefits. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. // 2012;9(7):2454-2478.
  4. MacDonald JM, Stokes RJ,  Brown, B.B., Wilson, L., Tribby, C.P., Werner, C.M, Wolf, J., Miller, H.J., Smith, K.R. (2014).  Adding maps (GPS) to accelerometry data to improve study participants’ recall of physical activity: a methodological advance in physical activity research.  British Journal of Sports Medicine.  doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2014-093530.
  5. Brown, B.B., & Werner, C.M. (2007). A new rail stop: Tracking moderate physical activity bouts and ridership. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 33(4), 306-309.

 

Support / Funding Source
Research reported in this publication was supported (in part) by grant number CA157509 from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Authors: 
Barbara Brown, PhD, University of Utah
Location by State: 

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