Walkability and street intersections in rural

We're plannersurban designersform-based code wranglersstorytellersadvisors and advocates. Absent those kinds of circumstances, we tend to take our neighborhoods for granted when it comes to health. There was a terrific lengthy report on place and health published in December by our friends at the Project for Public Spaces PPS and nicely described by my colleague Hazel Borys here. I recommend that report, especially for its concise but excellent, issue-by-issue literature reviews.

But I am returning to these matters today because there is compelling new research, from a variety of medical and other scientific sources, about what makes a neighborhood healthy. And, while that research certainly reinforces what smart growth and urbanist advocates have long believed — that walkable places, in particular, make a significant contribution to human health — it also establishes strongly that, among neighborhood characteristics, walkability alone is not enough.

To be truly healthy, especially in cities, we also need nature in our communities. And that is something that, in my opinion, is not commanding enough time and energy from city builders and advocates. Click for original. Before I get into the new research on neighborhood walkability and nature, allow me to set some broader context:.

As a nation we Americans enjoy reasonably good health in many ways. But there is ample reason for concern. Last year US life expectancy declined for the second year in a row, the first multiyear decline since the early s.

Even young children are affected: City living can alleviate some of these conditions but tends to exacerbate others. On the good side, rates of cardiovascular health are generally more favorable in cities than in rural areas. More on that below. But, on the bad side, city residents also encounter higher concentrations of air pollution and, perhaps as a result, their risk of respiratory disease may be greater.

A study published last year of Canadian children living in both urban and rural areas, for example, found asthma prevalence to be generally higher in urban locations with some indication that asthma incidence tends to rise as we move along a rural-to-urban gradient. This is consistent with previous research from the UK on adult asthma [link requires log-in].

Beyond asthma, scientific opinion on the deleterious effects of urban noise pollution is unequivocal. Writing in The Guardian in Marchreporter Matthew Keegan characterized some of those effects:.

The study also found that, on average, a person living in one of the loudest cities in the study has hearing loss equivalent to that of someone years older. Cities can be stressful photo courtesy of Thomas Hawk, Creative Commons.

How much noise does it take to cause health problems? Cardiovascular effects begin to be seen after exposure to sounds at 65 decibels dBaccording to research I detail more fully in an earlier article. Depending on the duration of exposure, hearing impairment can begin at around 85 dB, roughly equivalent to a noisy restaurant or heavy traffic.

Noise levels on New York City subway platforms have been measured at dB, rising to dB inside the cars.Metrics details. Literature focusing on youth has reported limited evidence and non-conclusive associations between neighborhood walkability measures and active commuting to and from school ACS.

Moreover, there is a lack of studies evaluating both macro- and micro-scale environmental factors of the neighborhood when ACS is analyzed.

walkability and street intersections in rural

Likewise, most studies on built environment attributes and ACS focus on urban areas, whereas there is a lack of studies analyzing rural residential locations. Moreover, the relationship between built environment attributes and ACS may differ in children and adolescents.

Hence, this study aimed to develop walkability indexes in relation to ACS for urban and rural children and adolescents, including both macro- and micro-scale school-neighborhood factors.

A cross-sectional study of participants from Spain with a mean age of Macro-scale environmental factors were evaluated using geographic information system data, and micro-scale factors were measured using observational procedures. Socio-demographic characteristics and ACS were assessed with a questionnaire. Several linear regression models were conducted, including all the possible combinations of six or less built environment factors in order to find the best walkability index.

Analyses showed that intersection density, number of four-way intersections, and residential density were positively related to ACS in urban participants, but negatively in rural participants.

In rural children, positive streetscape characteristics, number of regulated crossings, traffic calming features, traffic lanes, and parking street buffers were also negatively related to ACS. In urban participants, other different factors were positively related to ACS: number of regulated crossings, positive streetscape characteristics, or crossing quality.

Land use mix acted as a positive predictor only in urban adolescents. Distance to the school was a negative predictor on all the walkability indexes. However, aesthetic and social characteristics were not included in any of the indexes. Interventions focusing on improving built environments to increase ACS behavior need to have a better understanding of the walkability components that are specifically relevant to urban or rural samples.

Active commuting to and from school ACS; i. It is related to several health benefits, such as better health-related fitness and psychological well-being [ 45 ]. Nevertheless, several studies have shown that there is a decrease in ACS behavior in young people, mainly during adolescence [ 678 ].

From an ecological perspective [ 9 ], personal, psychosocial, and environmental factors and policies influence ACS behavior. Recently, the role of physical environmental factors in ACS has been examined with great interest [ 1011 ]. The concept of walkability was developed to explain how friendly an area is to active commuting behaviors [ 12 ].

Researchers focusing on children and adolescents have reported limited evidence and non-conclusive associations between neighborhood walkability measures and ACS [ 1113 ]. Apart from the small number of studies on this topic [ 11 ], the inconsistent associations across studies might be due to the differences in the methods used to assess built environment attributes [ 1314 ]. The associations between built environments and physical activity are more consistent when studies are based on objective neighborhood evaluation methods, such as geographical information system GIS or observational tools, compared to subjective methods perception instruments [ 14 ].

Likewise, there is a wide variety of variables to be considered when walkability is evaluated in relation to ACS [ 10 ]. The most usual components considered to calculate walkability are street connectivity, residential density, and land use mix [ 151617 ].

A walkability index is calculated by combining these components into a composite value [ 17 ].

These neighborhood environment components are considered macro-scale features because they are structural and urban form attributes that are not easily modifiable [ 18 ]. More connected areas are hypothesized to promote ACS because there are more route choices through the street network [ 19 ].

In this regard, the number of four-way intersections would also be related to the ease of ACS [ 20 ]. Moreover, higher residential density has also been related to more active commuting behaviors because it provides more opportunities for social interactions, more commercial activity, or better public transportation systems [ 2122 ].This article was originally published here.

Moreover, there is a lack of studies evaluating both macro- and micro-scale environmental factors of the neighborhood when ACS is analyzed.

walkability and street intersections in rural

Likewise, most studies on built environment attributes and ACS focus on urban areas, whereas there is a lack of studies analyzing rural residential locations. Moreover, the relationship between built environment attributes and ACS may differ in children and adolescents.

Hence, this study aimed to develop walkability indexes in relation to ACS for urban and rural children and adolescents, including both macro- and micro-scale school-neighborhood factors. Macro-scale environmental factors were evaluated using geographic information system data, and micro-scale factors were measured using observational procedures.

Socio-demographic characteristics and ACS were assessed with a questionnaire. Several linear regression models were conducted, including all the possible combinations of six or less built environment factors in order to find the best walkability index. RESULTS: Analyses showed that intersection density, number of four-way intersections, and residential density were positively related to ACS in urban participants, but negatively in rural participants.

In rural children, positive streetscape characteristics, number of regulated crossings, traffic calming features, traffic lanes, and parking street buffers were also negatively related to ACS. In urban participants, other different factors were positively related to ACS: number of regulated crossings, positive streetscape characteristics, or crossing quality. Land use mix acted as a positive predictor only in urban adolescents. Distance to the school was a negative predictor on all the walkability indexes.

Carfree Cities: The Gritty Details

However, aesthetic and social characteristics were not included in any of the indexes. Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Home Data Analysis. Different neighborhood walkability indexes for active commuting to school are necessary for urban and rural children and adolescents by globalresearchsyndicate.

October 2, Share on Facebook Share on Twitter.Most US cities, Minneapolis and St Paul included, are in dire need of traffic calming and complete streets. Critical streets are dangerously overbuilt: corners have been widened, lanes widened, streets widened. Over the last half century, Herculean governmental and financial efforts have been thrown at reshaping our cities for driving at the expense of those on foot.

We all know this. Those of you who read this site probably do, anyway. We all know that we should work overtime on traffic calming, road diets, sidewalk extensions, lane narrowing, and a whole host of other design approaches that might begin to undo some of the damage to our walkable urban fabric. City leaders say that this is one of their goals. We all know we need to make our cities safe for people on foot.

But when it comes down to any one particular project, the situation seems to change. We might say we want to make our streets safer for vulnerable pedestrians, but talk is cheap, and change is hard, and that goes double for concrete. The technology is pretty straightforward. They take a picture of the license plate of the car breaking the law, and send a ticket to the address associated with that car.

At one level, the cameras seem like a no brainer. Who is going to defend people speeding through a red light at an intersection full of pedestrians? As you may remember, Minneapolis installed red light cameras for a short time back in After an outcry by civil libertarians who presumably enjoy speeding through stoplights and threatening to maim people trying to cross the street?

The court declared that the cameras were unconstitutional because of something or other.

walkability and street intersections in rural

You can read the decision here. Red light cameras made our cities much safer by providing cities with an extremely cheap enforcement tool, targeted very specifically at the areas that posed the most danger to pedestrians. Someday I hope we have legislation in place that allows this efficient and effective traffic calming device to go back onto the stoplights of Franklin Avenue and dangerous corners everywhere.

AARP Walk Audit Tool Kit (and Leader Guide)

She was the victim of a particularly shocking tragedy earlier this year on the corner of Grand and Hamline Avenues, involving a car speeding around a corner in the most walkable part of St Paul. Studies show that most accidents occur at intersections, and most accidents at intersections occur with vehicles turning corners at speed.

Corners at intersections should be the focus of attention for cities thinking about improving their sidewalks. Of course, bumpouts are the real solution. Sometimes this leads to militant pedestrianism ; more often, it leads to a depressing stroll. If we want to actually encourage people to walk around our cities, we need to do more than plant a tree or two.

New York City and the Netherlands have blanket bans on turning on red, but most cities could begin addressing this problem by posting signs at any corner that meets a sufficient pedestrian density threshold. With a bit of enforcement, it would be cheap and effective. That decision must have taken some guts. The policy recommendation was based on a decade of study of accidents due to distraction, and fits with lots of neurological and attention studies that show that people who drive while on the phone are bad at noticing their surroundings.

To say that the announcement was met with the collective sound of chirping crickets in every city across the US would be an insult to crickets. Both the cell phone and car industries were shocked, resisted the legislation suggestion, and basically nothing happened. Nine states ban hand held phones while driving. Including Nevada!There's always more to discover with an AARP membership! Learn about your member benefits.

Download the walk audit tool kit, a step-by-step self-service guide for assessing a community's walkability. After driving, walking is the most popular mode of transportation in the United States. However, in many towns, cities and neighborhoods, the only way to get around is by car because walking is just too dangerous.

Follow the instructions below to download or order these free guides and related worksheets. We can send one free copy of each guide per request. If seeking additional copies please explain why and identify the organization you are representing, if any. Age-Friendly Network Communities. Community Engagement.

Three Ways to Improve Walkability Without Touching the Street

Complete Streets. Economic Development. Inspiring Examples. Interviews with Livability Experts. Interviews with Local Leaders. Livable Lessons and How To's. Livable Lingo. Placemaking and Public Spaces. Public Health. Rural Livability.The guiding principle of Walkable Streets is that a walkable street is the fundamental building block of a quality community.

Indeed, the pedestrian is the design imperative. Dom Nozzi is the executive director of Walkable Streets. He can be reached at dom walkablestreets.

Ingredients of a Walkable Street. Measuring Walkable Urbanity. Transportation recommendations for Boulder CO, informed by his 40 years of academic and professional work in transportation, 9 years of living in Boulder, and 5 years on the Boulder Transportation Advisory Board.

His most active urban design and transportation blogging site. It is an inherently unsustainable path that a number of analysts now fear may be leading to the end of the American empire. Entertainment-Related Blogs. This blog is a catalog of blogs he has written of each of his significant travels and adventures throughout the United States and the world over the course of his life.

It also contains blogs about major events in his life. This blog contains lists of what he considers to be the best in a wide range of topics such as foods, beverages, movies, books, individuals, and words. Lack of respect for nonmotorized travel often justifies policies that favor motorized over nonmotorized travel, including minimal investments in walking and cycling facilities, roadway design and management that creates barriers to nonmotorized travel, development policies that result in more dispersed land use patterns, and traffic safety programs that give nonmotorized issues little attention and place the onus for reducing risk on pedestrians and cyclists.

Are these assumptions justified? What rights do non-motorized modes have to use public roadways? Do nonmotorized modes receive a fair share of roadway resources? Do motorists really subsidize walking and cycling? This report explores these questions. Bicyclists have legal rights and responsibilities that vary from one jurisdiction to another.

These usually include the following features BikeMass, ; LawGuru, Most jurisdictions require drivers to yield to pedestrians using long canes or dog guides. Some jurisdictions have laws requiring bicyclists to wear helmets some of which only apply to childrenor placing other special responsibilities on cyclists.

Most traffic laws do not differentiate between bicycles and other vehicles Paul Hill, Please support ScreenRant so we can continue providing you with great content. Please whitelist ScreenRant or disable your ad blocker to continue. Disable Ad Blocker Please whitelist ScreenRant or disable your ad blocker to continue.

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