A GIS Approach to Evaluating Streetscape and Neighborhood Walkability

  • Ackerson K
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Walking is the most used form of transportation. Pedestrian access between home, work, and urban amenities improves residents’ quality of life by providing transportation options that are inexpensive and facilitate healthy lifestyles. The availability of pedestrian infrastructure (i.e., sidewalks, crossing aids, etc.) is a primary concern for citizens without access to automobile transportation. Sidewalks provide safe and efficient routes that enable residents to access employment, recreation, and education opportunities – to name a few. Thus, provision of pedestrian infrastructure that facilitates safe travel is a key issue for urban planners and public policy makers. Middle school students are unique in their freedom of mobility on one hand, and their reliance on alternatives to automobile transportation on the other hand. In the past, walking to school was one of many opportunities for physical activity available to middle school students. However, recent research finds an increasing number of youth are being driven to school compared to students in the past. Although the loss physical activity required by walking rather than driving to school is moderate, it is one factor responsible for a nationwide rise in childhood obesity rates. By addressing these trends today, urban planners and policy makers have the opportunity to limit the future consequences these trends. It is in the best interest of communities to provide safe pedestrian access to urban amenities, thereby promoting physical activity and improving health.

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  • Community and Regional Planning

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  • Kristopher Joseph Ackerson

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