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Background: Designing healthy, liveable cities is a global priority. Current liveability indices are aggregated at the city-level, do not reflect spatial variation within cities, and are often not aligned to policy or health. Objectives: To combine policy-relevant liveability indicators associated with health into a spatial Urban Liveability Index (ULI) and examine its association with adult travel behaviours. Methods: We developed methods to calculate spatial liveability indicators and the ULI for all residential addresses in Melbourne, Australia. Associations between the address-level ULI and adult travel behaviours from the 2012-2014 Victorian Integrated Survey of Travel and Activity (VISTA) (n = 12,323) were analysed using multilevel logistic regression. Sensitivity analyses to evaluate impact of methodological choices on distribution of liveability as assessed by the ULI and associations with travel mode choice were also conducted. Results: Liveability estimates were calculated for 1,550,641 residential addresses. ULI scores were positively associated with active transport behaviour: for each unit increase in the ULI score the estimated adjusted odds ratio (OR) for: walking increased by 12% (95% Credible Interval: 9%, 15%); cycling increased by 10% (4%, 17%); public transport increased by 15% (11%, 19%); and private vehicle transport decreased by 12% (- 9%, - 15%). Conclusions: The ULI provides an evidence-informed and policy-relevant measure of urban liveability, that is significantly and approximately linearly associated with adult travel behaviours in the Melbourne context. The ULI can be used to evaluate progress towards implementing policies designed to achieve more liveable cities, identify spatial inequities, and examine relationships with health and wellbeing.
Higgs, C., Badland, H., Simons, K., Knibbs, L. D., & Giles-Corti, B. (2019). The Urban Liveability Index: Developing a policy-relevant urban liveability composite measure and evaluating associations with transport mode choice. International Journal of Health Geographics, 18(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12942-019-0178-8
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