Many studies have established a significant relationship between walkable neighborhoods and impacts on health and travel behaviors. In the past, most of these studies were based on large metropolitan areas with significant variability in built environment and residential options. A recent study examined relationships between residential preferences, neighborhood walkability, and health implications in a Canadian midsized-city. And, the findings are substantially different from those of similar studies done in large metropolitan areas.
With the constant rise in obesity numbers and health concerns, planners and designers around the world are trying to bring back physical activity in day-to-day commuting behavior. Addressing health concerns through active transportation solutions not only brings us a step closer to a healthier community, but is also cost effective. Improving walking access to public transit stations is one such solution and was the theme of a paper published in the May issue of ITE journal.
Research in the last ten years has linked walkability, improved pedestrian environments, mixed-use development, and even older housing stock—a proxy for neighborhoods built for walking as opposed to driving—with improved public health measures related to weight. A new longitudinal study from McGill University is the first to study changes in body mass index over a relatively long time period as a function of walkability.
At some Washington Metro stations, poor walking and biking connections to transit mean that a large percentage of riders drive to the access transit. When the parking lots fill up in the morning, the capacity of the parking lot effectively limits the capacity of the transit station.
Walkscore, the first website to offer easy-to-use walkability ratings for cities, neighborhoods, and individual properties now has some competition. Walkability, a rating system released this month targets private businesses, particularly those in the marketing, social networking, and real estate sectors.
For agencies that want to address the land use-transportation connection, Walk Score now provides a new form of accessibility measure, as well as data to help measure trends over time. The firm is offering a way to measure the depth of choices of destinations such as groceries or parks, in a platform called ChoiceMaps.
An economic analysis of a sample of neighborhoods in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area using walkability measures, this study offer useful insights for a diverse set of interests, including lenders, developers, economic planning professionals, as well as those interested in the economic healthy of cities.