The Built Environment Archives 2

“Why Parents Drive Children to School: Implications for Safe Routes to School Programs” (2009)

  • Rates of walking and bicycling to school have declined sharply in recent decades, and federal and state governments have committed funds to reverse these trends. To increase rates of walking and biking to school will require understanding why many parents choose to drive their children to school and how well existing programs, like Safe Routes to School, work.
  • The study aimed to understand why many parents choose to drive their children even short distances to school, and what implications this has for programs to increase walking and biking to school.
  • The authors used data from a telephone survey to explore why parents drive their children to school.
  • The study found that 75% of parents driving their children less than 2 miles to school said they did this for convenience and to save time. Nearly half of parents driving their children less than 2 miles did not allow their child to walk to school without adult supervision. Accompanying a child on a walk to school greatly increases the time the household devotes to such a trip. Few Safe Routes to School programs effectively address issues of parental convenience and time constraints.
  • Safe Routes to School programs should take parental convenience and time constraints into account by providing ways children can walk to school supervised by someone other than the parent, such as by using walking school buses. To be effective, such programs need institutional support. Schools should take a multimodal approach to pupil transportation.

McDonald, N.C. & Aalborg, A.E. (2009). Why Parents Drive Children to School: Implications for Safe Routes to School Programs. Journal of the American Planning Association 75(3), 331-342.

“A National Plan for Physical Activity: The Enabling Role of the Built Environment” (2009)

  • Evidence shows significant relationships between aspects of the built environment and physical activity. Land use and transportation investments are needed to create environments that support and promote physical activity.
  • The policy relevance of recent evidence on the built environment and physical activity is discussed, along with an assessment of near, medium, and longer term pricing and regulatory actions that could be considered to promote physical activity. These actions are evaluated based on their consistency with the current evidence on what would support and promote physical activity.
  • A wide range of pricing and regulatory strategies are presented that would promote physical activity. There is an unmet demand for activity friendly, walkable environments. Creating more walkable places is an essential component of a national plan to increase physical activity levels of Americans.
  • The built environment is an enabler or disabler of physical activity. Creating more walkable environments is an essential step in averting what is currently a market failure where the supply and demand for walkable environments is misaligned. The desire to be more physically active would be supported through investments in walking, biking, and transit. Concentration of development within existing urban areas supported by transit and implementing pricing strategies can support physical activity.

Frank, L., Kavage, S. (2009). A National Plan for Physical Activity: The Enabling Role of the Built Environment. Journal of Physical Activity & Health 6 Suppl 2:S186–195.

“Analyzing the Effect of Bicycle Facilities on Commute Mode Share over Time” (2009)

  • This study employs United States census data to analyze changes in bicycle commuting between 1990 and 2000 in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. area.
  • A variety of perspectives are used to understand the impact of newly created facilities.
  • The evidence suggests that bicycle facilities significantly impact levels of bicycle commuting, although the results are not totally free of uncertainty. For example, areas near new bicycle facilities showed considerably more of an increase in bicycle mode share than areas farther away. Observing increased cycling due to these physical interventions provides a starting point to which future research could add detail that would be needed to guide infrastructure investment.

Krizek, KJ, Barnes, G, Thompson, K. “Analyzing the Effect of Bicycle Facilities on Commute Mode Share over Time.” Journal of Urban Planning and Development. 135.2 (2009): 66–73.

“From Partnership to Policy: The Evolution of Active Living by Design in Portland, Oregon” (2009)

  • Active Living by Design focused on two communities in Portland, Oregon: one urban, low-income community with poor bicycle/pedestrian and park infrastructure, the other a semirural community expected to see urban growth in the next 30 years.
  • The goals of Active Living by Design included:
    • prepare and sustain a network of public health, planning, community and policymaking partner
    • affect urban planning and policy decisions to influence built-environment changes
    • support active-living program and promotion partners
  • This project proved the community-action model to be a valuable tool for organizing intervention activities and bringing diverse partners together.
  • Reviewers conclude that many of the partnerships’ collaborative efforts to encourage healthy communities through policy, environmental, and social change have been largely successful and can serve as a model for other communities.

Dobson, NG and Gilroy, AR. “From Partnerships to Policy: The Evolution of Active Living by Design in Portland, Oregon.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 37.6.2 (2009): S436-S444.

“Get Active Orlando: Changing the Built Environment to Increase Physical Activity” (2009)

  • Active Living by Design’s Get Active Orlando partnership focused on incorporating activity living considerations into Orlando’s downtown, home to many low-income and ethnically diverse resident and seniors.
  • A baseline survey of all streets, sidewalks, and bicycle lanes was completed and a sequence of plans and policies to create changes were identified.
  • Immediate changes include the initiation of a senior walking program, bicycle refurbishments and giveaway program, and community bicycle-riding events, and a social marketing campaign that emphasized simple lifestyle changes.
  • Get Active Orlando influenced adoption of public policies supporting active living in Orlando, including the Downtown Transportation Plan, Streetscape Guidelines, Design Standards Review Checklist, and growth management policies.
  • The city established a Mayor’s Advisory Council on Active Living, a testament to the heightened significance of active living in Orlando.
  • Creating connections across disciplines including land-use planning, transportation, public health, and economic development allowed Get Active Orlando to secure substantial policy change to influence design of the built environment.
  • Engaging community members, including youth, as leaders was an important factor in program success.

McCreedy, M and Leslie, JG. “Get Active Orlando: Changing the Built Environment to Increase Physical Activity.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 37.6.2 (2009): S395-S402.

“Partnership Moves Community Toward Complete Streets” (2009)

  • This article reviews the Partnership for Active Communities efforts to bring together multidisciplinary organizations to create a 5-year project to support increased walking and bicycling in the Sacramento, CA area.
  • Using a community action model, the partnership focused on programs and promotions to expand walk- and bike-to-school programs.
  • A comprehensive communications plan united diverse partnership interests to advocate for Complete Streets policy change and improve transportation infrastructure.
  • As a result of the program, Walk- and bike-to-school programs grew, and community-design workshops helped leverage more than $12 million in additional support, including Safe Routes to School grants.
  • Complete Streets is now included as a policy in the region’s transportation plan, in the mobility element of the city’s updated general plan and the county’s draft circulation plan, and in the regional transit master plan.

Geraghty, Anne. B., Seifert, Walt, Holm, Christopher, V., Duarte, Teri H., and Farrar, Steve M. “Partnership Move Community Toward Complete Streets.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 37.6.2 (2009): S420-S427.

“Active Living For Rural Youth: Addressing Physical Inactivity For Rural Communities” (2009)

  • Active living has four domains: transportation, recreation, occupation, and household.
  • Active living research incorporates an ecological approach to promoting physical activity by recognizing that individual behavior, social environments, physical environments, and policies contribute to behavior change.
  • This study tests and refines a conceptual model between the individual and the environment in rural communities.
  • Findings reveal a host of “predisposing” and “enabling” factors, including sociodemographic, environmental, policy, and programmatic elements that extend across the fours domains of active living.
  • Researchers suggest that efforts to combat childhood obesity must consider rural residents a priority population because of the unique challenges that rural communities face.

Yousefian, A, Ziller, E, Swartz, J, and Hartley, D. “Active living for rural youth: addressing physical inactivity in rural communities.” Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. 15.3 (2009): 223-231.

“Pilot Evaluation of a Walking School Bus Program in a Low-Income, Urban Community” (2009)

  • This study evaluates the impact of a walking school bus on student transport in a low-income, urban neighborhood.
  • The intervention consisted of a part-time walking school bus coordinator and parent volunteers.
  • At intervention schools, three walking school buses were developed and maintained with an individual route to school (distances ranged from 0.3 to 1.5 miles long) and took 15-40 minutes from start to finish.
  • After 12-months of the intervention, the number of students who walked to the intervention school increased from 20% to 25%.
  • The number of students who walked to control schools decreased.

Mendoza, Jason A., Levinger, David D., and Johnston, Brian D. “Pilot evaluation of a walking school bus program in a low-income, urban community.” BMC Public Health. 9 (2009): 122-137.

“Research Brief: Walking and Biking to School, Physical Activity and Health Outcomes” (2009)

  • This brief summarizes research on active transport to school, physical activity levels and health outcomes.
  • It also explores the factors that influence walking and biking to school, including the impact of SRTS programs.

McMillan, TE. “Research Brief: Walking and Biking to School, Physical Activity and Health Outcomes.” Active Living Research. (2009): available at http://www.activelivingresearch.org/files/ALR_Brief_ActiveTransport.pdf

“Recommendations For Advancing Opportunities to Increase Physical Activity in Racial/Ethnic Minority Communities” (2009)

  • This article suggests that public policies, informed by research, that support population-level approaches to increase physical activity, is needed to increase physical activity opportunities to racial/ethnic minority communities.
  • The authors suggest that by creating better schools in low income neighborhoods, children would be more likely to live within walking distance to school and choose active transportation to and from school.
  • Building infrastructure that includes sidewalks, walking trails, bicycle lanes, and increased availability of reliable public transportation in racial/ethnic minorities is a strategy to support and allow engaging in active forms of transportation and physical activity.

Whitt-Glover, Melicia C., Crespo, Carlos J. and Joe, Jennie. “Recommendations for advancing opportunities to increase physical activity in racial/ethnic minority communities.” Preventive Medicine. 49.4 (2009): 292-293.

“Identifying Factors Affecting the Number of Students Walking or Biking to School” (2009)

  • This study investigates the characteristics of student travel behaviors before the implementation of SRTS program and identifies the influential factors affecting the number of children to walk or bike to school.
  • Parents reported the following as the five primary factors affecting children’s walking or biking:
    • distance (67.0%)
    • traffic speed along route (53.7%)
    • traffic amount along route (51.3%)
    • violence or crime (42.1%)
    • intersection safety (38.2%)
  • Parents reported the following as the five primary factors that would change their decisions and allow their children to walk or bike to school:
    • distance (25.5%)
    • safety of intersections and crossings (22.0%)
    • weather or climate (21.9%)
    • presence of an adult cowalker (17.5%)
    • convenience of driving (15.0%)
  • Researchers suggest that distance between the rankings reveal a variance between people’s perceptions and reactions.
  • Subjective opinions were also considered in this study demonstrating that most students and parents held positive attitudes toward students walking or biking to school:
    • Forty percent of students consider walking or biking to school “fun” or “very fun” and less than 10 percent of students consider it “boring or “very boring”
    • 57.2 percent of students consider it “healthy” or “very healthy” to walk or bike to school
    • 78.8 percent of students have asked for permission to walk or bike to school
    • Only 4.1 percent of students believed their schools discourage or strongly discourage students to walk or bike to school
    • 32.9 percent of parents will allow their children to walk or bike alone at different grades.

Zhou, Huaguo, Zhao, Jiguang, Hsu, Peter, and Rouse, Jeanette. “Identifying Factors Affecting the Number of Students Walking or Biking to School.” Institute of Transportation Engineers Journal. 79.10 (2009).

“Recommended Community Strategies and Measurements to Prevent Obesity in the United States” (2009)

  • The CDC initiated the Common Community Measures for Obesity Prevention Project (the Measures Project) to identify and recommend a set of obesity prevention strategies and corresponding suggested measurements that local governments and communities can use to plan, implement, and monitor initiatives to prevent obesity.
  • Strategies 17-23 suggest community improvements that are addressed by Safe Routes to School. These recommendations suggest that communities should:
    • enhance infrastructure supporting bicycling
    • enhance infrastructure supporting walking
    • support locating schools within easy walking distance of residential areas
    • improve access to public transportation
    • zone for mixed-land use development
    • enhance personal safety in areas where persons are or could be physically active
    • enhance traffic safety where persons are or could be physically active

Khan, Laura Kettel, Sobush, Kathleen, Keener, Dana, Goodman, Kenneth, Lowry, Amy, Kazietek, Jakub, and Zaro, Susan. “Recommended Community Strategies and Measurements to Prevent Obesity in the United States.” Center for Disease Control. (2009): 58(RR07); 1-26.

"Environmental Correlates of Children’s Active Transportation: A Systematic Literature Review” (2009)

  • This is a systematic review of 38 articles that investigate the environmental (physical, economic, socio-cultural and political) correlates of active transportation (AT) among young people aged 5-18 years
  • Lower rates of active transport were correlated with greater distance, increasing household income and increasing car ownership
  • Non-white ethnic background is positively associated with active transport.
  • Accessibility to recreational facilities and walk or bike paths are possibly associated with higher rates of active transport
  • Researchers highlight the complexity of variables promoting or inhibiting children’s active transport and suggest areas for future research

Pont, Karina, Ziviani, Jenny, Wadley, David, Bennett, Sally and Abbott, Rebecca. “Environmental Correlates of Children’s Active Transportation: A Systematic Literature Review”. Health and Place. 15 (2009) 849-862.

“Child Transport Practices and Perceived Barriers in Active Commuting to School” (2009)

  • This study examines 496 parental questionnaires to evaluate the transport practices of school children and perceived factors that influenced parental decisions regarding their child’s use of active transport to commute to school
  • Only 1/3 of the children report using active transport to and from school
  • Commuting distance is significantly associated with increased odds of active transport
  • Other factors that reportedly influence parental decisions regarding their child’s active transport to school are: age, provision of safe walking paths, adult supervision, commuting distance, and child’s fitness level

Yeung, Jennifer, Wearing, Scott, and Hills, Andrew P. “Child Transport Practices and Perceived Barriers in Active Commuting to School”. Transportation Research Part A. 42 (2008) 895-900.

“Measuring the Built Environment for Physical Activity: State of the Science” (2009)

  • This study addressed the importance of the development of high-quality measures to understand the impact of the built environment on physical activity
  • Three categories of the built environment data are critically assessed:
    • perceived measures obtained by telephone interview or self-administered questionnaires
    • observational measures obtained using systematic observational methods (audits)
    • archival data sets hat are often layered and analyzed with GIS
  • This is the first substantial literature on measurement of the built environment for physical activity, a topic that is of importance to both researchers and practitioners
  • Future developments in measuring the built environment and physical activity should continually improve, ensuring relevance for diverse population groups, and integrating built-environment measures into public health surveillance and planning systems

Brownson, Ross C., Hoehner, Christine M., Day, Kristen, Forsyth, Ann, and Sallis, James F. “Measuring the Built environment for Physical Activity: State of the Science”. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 36.4 (2009) S99-S123.

“The Built Environment: Designing Communities to Promote Physical Activity in Children” (2009)

  • This article discusses how the built environment of a community affects children’s opportunities for physical activity
  • Walking to school is identified as the most universal opportunity for incidental physical activity, which are activities for which exercise is not the primary goal
  • The TAAG study, as noted in this policy report, provided evidence that every mile that a girl lived farther from school translated to significantly fewer minutes of metabolic activity per week
  • The policy report identifies 3 recommendations for pediatricians; ask patients about incidental physical activity opportunities in their community, ask patients to advocate for environmental improvements that will allow their children to walk to school, and advocate for opportunities that will increase physical activity for children
  • The policy report identifies 5 recommendations for government; pass and promote laws that promote active living, create and maintain green spaces, promote legislation and fund programs that create active commuting opportunities, fund research on the built environment and physical activity, and serve as a model for the community by siting buildings in locations that promote activity living.

Tester, June M. and the Committee on Environmental Health. “The Built Environment: Designing Communities to Promote Physical Activity in Children.” Pediatrics. 123.6 (2009) 1591-1598.

“Analyzing the Effect of Bicycle Facilities on Commute Mode Share over Time” (2009)

  • This study employs United States census data to analyze changes in bicycle commuting between 1990 and 2000 in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. area.
  • A variety of perspectives are used to understand the impact of newly created facilities.
  • The evidence suggests that bicycle facilities significantly impact levels of bicycle commuting, although the results are not totally free of uncertainty. For example, areas near new bicycle facilities showed considerably more of an increase in bicycle mode share than areas farther away. Observing increased cycling due to these physical interventions provides a starting point to which future research could add detail that would be needed to guide infrastructure investment.

Krizek, KJ, Barnes, G, Thompson, K. “Analyzing the Effect of Bicycle Facilities on Commute Mode Share over Time.” Journal of Urban Planning and Development. 135.2 (2009): 66–73.

“From Partnership to Policy: The Evolution of Active Living by Design in Portland, Oregon” (2009)

  • Active Living by Design focused on two communities in Portland, Oregon: one urban, low-income community with poor bicycle/pedestrian and park infrastructure, the other a semirural community expected to see urban growth in the next 30 years.
  • The goals of Active Living by Design included:
    • prepare and sustain a network of public health, planning, community and policymaking partner
    • affect urban planning and policy decisions to influence built-environment changes
    • support active-living program and promotion partners
  • This project proved the community-action model to be a valuable tool for organizing intervention activities and bringing diverse partners together.
  • Reviewers conclude that many of the partnerships’ collaborative efforts to encourage healthy communities through policy, environmental, and social change have been largely successful and can serve as a model for other communities.

Dobson, NG and Gilroy, AR. “From Partnerships to Policy: The Evolution of Active Living by Design in Portland, Oregon.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 37.6.2 (2009): S436-S444.

“Get Active Orlando: Changing the Built Environment to Increase Physical Activity” (2009)

  • Active Living by Design’s Get Active Orlando partnership focused on incorporating activity living considerations into Orlando’s downtown, home to many low-income and ethnically diverse resident and seniors.
  • A baseline survey of all streets, sidewalks, and bicycle lanes was completed and a sequence of plans and policies to create changes were identified.
  • Immediate changes include the initiation of a senior walking program, bicycle refurbishments and giveaway program, and community bicycle-riding events, and a social marketing campaign that emphasized simple lifestyle changes.
  • Get Active Orlando influenced adoption of public policies supporting active living in Orlando, including the Downtown Transportation Plan, Streetscape Guidelines, Design Standards Review Checklist, and growth management policies.
  • The city established a Mayor’s Advisory Council on Active Living, a testament to the heightened significance of active living in Orlando.
  • Creating connections across disciplines including land-use planning, transportation, public health, and economic development allowed Get Active Orlando to secure substantial policy change to influence design of the built environment.
  • Engaging community members, including youth, as leaders was an important factor in program success.

McCreedy, M and Leslie, JG. “Get Active Orlando: Changing the Built Environment to Increase Physical Activity.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 37.6.2 (2009): S395-S402.

“Partnership Moves Community Toward Complete Streets” (2009)

  • This article reviews the Partnership for Active Communities efforts to bring together multidisciplinary organizations to create a 5-year project to support increased walking and bicycling in the Sacramento, CA area.
  • Using a community action model, the partnership focused on programs and promotions to expand walk- and bike-to-school programs.
  • A comprehensive communications plan united diverse partnership interests to advocate for Complete Streets policy change and improve transportation infrastructure.
  • As a result of the program, Walk- and bike-to-school programs grew, and community-design workshops helped leverage more than $12 million in additional support, including Safe Routes to School grants.
  • Complete Streets is now included as a policy in the region’s transportation plan, in the mobility element of the city’s updated general plan and the county’s draft circulation plan, and in the regional transit master plan.

Geraghty, Anne. B., Seifert, Walt, Holm, Christopher, V., Duarte, Teri H., and Farrar, Steve M. “Partnership Move Community Toward Complete Streets.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 37.6.2 (2009): S420-S427.

“Active Living For Rural Youth: Addressing Physical Inactivity For Rural Communities” (2009)

  • Active living has four domains: transportation, recreation, occupation, and household.
  • Active living research incorporates an ecological approach to promoting physical activity by recognizing that individual behavior, social environments, physical environments, and policies contribute to behavior change.
  • This study tests and refines a conceptual model between the individual and the environment in rural communities.
  • Findings reveal a host of “predisposing” and “enabling” factors, including sociodemographic, environmental, policy, and programmatic elements that extend across the fours domains of active living.
  • Researchers suggest that efforts to combat childhood obesity must consider rural residents a priority population because of the unique challenges that rural communities face.

Yousefian, A, Ziller, E, Swartz, J, and Hartley, D. “Active living for rural youth: addressing physical inactivity in rural communities.” Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. 15.3 (2009): 223-231.

“Pilot Evaluation of a Walking School Bus Program in a Low-Income, Urban Community” (2009)

  • This study evaluates the impact of a walking school bus on student transport in a low-income, urban neighborhood.
  • The intervention consisted of a part-time walking school bus coordinator and parent volunteers.
  • At intervention schools, three walking school buses were developed and maintained with an individual route to school (distances ranged from 0.3 to 1.5 miles long) and took 15-40 minutes from start to finish.
  • After 12-months of the intervention, the number of students who walked to the intervention school increased from 20% to 25%.
  • The number of students who walked to control schools decreased.

Mendoza, Jason A., Levinger, David D., and Johnston, Brian D. “Pilot evaluation of a walking school bus program in a low-income, urban community.” BMC Public Health. 9 (2009): 122-137.

“Research Brief: Walking and Biking to School, Physical Activity and Health Outcomes” (2009)

  • This brief summarizes research on active transport to school, physical activity levels and health outcomes.
  • It also explores the factors that influence walking and biking to school, including the impact of SRTS programs.

McMillan, TE. “Research Brief: Walking and Biking to School, Physical Activity and Health Outcomes.” Active Living Research. (2009): available at http://www.activelivingresearch.org/files/ALR_Brief_ActiveTransport.pdf

“Recommendations For Advancing Opportunities to Increase Physical Activity in Racial/Ethnic Minority Communities” (2009)

  • This article suggests that public policies, informed by research, that support population-level approaches to increase physical activity, is needed to increase physical activity opportunities to racial/ethnic minority communities.
  • The authors suggest that by creating better schools in low income neighborhoods, children would be more likely to live within walking distance to school and choose active transportation to and from school.
  • Building infrastructure that includes sidewalks, walking trails, bicycle lanes, and increased availability of reliable public transportation in racial/ethnic minorities is a strategy to support and allow engaging in active forms of transportation and physical activity.

Whitt-Glover, Melicia C., Crespo, Carlos J. and Joe, Jennie. “Recommendations for advancing opportunities to increase physical activity in racial/ethnic minority communities.” Preventive Medicine. 49.4 (2009): 292-293.

“Creating Physical Activity-Promoting Community Environments: Time for a Breakthrough” (2009)

  • This article highlights Safe Routes to School as a promising strategy for increasing youth physical activity and improving health equity.
  • Shared use agreements to unlock school playgrounds after school and on weekends is another highlighted approach to promote physical activity, especially in poor communities and communities without access to other recreation facilities.
  • Finally, this article reminds readers that The Recovery Act includes more than $45.5 billion to employ out of work Americans to improve public transit systems, making our communities more walkable and bikable and investing in projects that reduce reliance on automobiles – the source of close to 30% of total greenhouse gas emissions.

Solomon, Loel S., Standish, Marion B., and Orleans, C. Tracy. “Creating Physical Activity-Promoting Community Environments: Time for a breakthrough.” Preventive Medicine. 49.4 (2009): 334-335.

“Identifying Factors Affecting the Number of Students Walking or Biking to School” (2009)

  • This study investigates the characteristics of student travel behaviors before the implementation of SRTS program and identifies the influential factors affecting the number of children to walk or bike to school.
  • Parents reported the following as the five primary factors affecting children’s walking or biking:
    • distance (67.0%)
    • traffic speed along route (53.7%)
    • traffic amount along route (51.3%)
    • violence or crime (42.1%)
    • intersection safety (38.2%)
  • Parents reported the following as the five primary factors that would change their decisions and allow their children to walk or bike to school:
    • distance (25.5%)
    • safety of intersections and crossings (22.0%)
    • weather or climate (21.9%)
    • presence of an adult cowalker (17.5%)
    • convenience of driving (15.0%)
  • Researchers suggest that distance between the rankings reveal a variance between people’s perceptions and reactions.
  • Subjective opinions were also considered in this study demonstrating that most students and parents held positive attitudes toward students walking or biking to school:
    • Forty percent of students consider walking or biking to school “fun” or “very fun” and less than 10 percent of students consider it “boring or “very boring”
    • 57.2 percent of students consider it “healthy” or “very healthy” to walk or bike to school
    • 78.8 percent of students have asked for permission to walk or bike to school
    • Only 4.1 percent of students believed their schools discourage or strongly discourage students to walk or bike to school
    • 32.9 percent of parents will allow their children to walk or bike alone at different grades.

Zhou, Huaguo, Zhao, Jiguang, Hsu, Peter, and Rouse, Jeanette. “Identifying Factors Affecting the Number of Students Walking or Biking to School.” Institute of Transportation Engineers Journal. 79.10 (2009).

“Recommended Community Strategies and Measurements to Prevent Obesity in the United States” (2009)

  • The CDC initiated the Common Community Measures for Obesity Prevention Project (the Measures Project) to identify and recommend a set of obesity prevention strategies and corresponding suggested measurements that local governments and communities can use to plan, implement, and monitor initiatives to prevent obesity.
  • Strategies 17-23 suggest community improvements that are addressed by Safe Routes to School. These recommendations suggest that communities should:
    • enhance infrastructure supporting bicycling
    • enhance infrastructure supporting walking
    • support locating schools within easy walking distance of residential areas
    • improve access to public transportation
    • zone for mixed-land use development
    • enhance personal safety in areas where persons are or could be physically active
    • enhance traffic safety where persons are or could be physically active

Khan, Laura Kettel, Sobush, Kathleen, Keener, Dana, Goodman, Kenneth, Lowry, Amy, Kazietek, Jakub, and Zaro, Susan. “Recommended Community Strategies and Measurements to Prevent Obesity in the United States.” Center for Disease Control. (2009): 58(RR07); 1-26.

"Environmental Correlates of Children’s Active Transportation: A Systematic Literature Review” (2009)

  • This is a systematic review of 38 articles that investigate the environmental (physical, economic, socio-cultural and political) correlates of active transportation (AT) among young people aged 5-18 years
  • Lower rates of active transport were correlated with greater distance, increasing household income and increasing car ownership
  • Non-white ethnic background is positively associated with active transport.
  • Accessibility to recreational facilities and walk or bike paths are possibly associated with higher rates of active transport
  • Researchers highlight the complexity of variables promoting or inhibiting children’s active transport and suggest areas for future research

Pont, Karina, Ziviani, Jenny, Wadley, David, Bennett, Sally and Abbott, Rebecca. “Environmental Correlates of Children’s Active Transportation: A Systematic Literature Review”. Health and Place. 15 (2009) 849-862.

“Child Transport Practices and Perceived Barriers in Active Commuting to School” (2009)

  • This study examines 496 parental questionnaires to evaluate the transport practices of school children and perceived factors that influenced parental decisions regarding their child’s use of active transport to commute to school
  • Only 1/3 of the children report using active transport to and from school
  • Commuting distance is significantly associated with increased odds of active transport
  • Other factors that reportedly influence parental decisions regarding their child’s active transport to school are: age, provision of safe walking paths, adult supervision, commuting distance, and child’s fitness level

Yeung, Jennifer, Wearing, Scott, and Hills, Andrew P. “Child Transport Practices and Perceived Barriers in Active Commuting to School”. Transportation Research Part A. 42 (2008) 895-900.

“Measuring the Built Environment for Physical Activity: State of the Science” (2009)

  • This study addressed the importance of the development of high-quality measures to understand the impact of the built environment on physical activity
  • Three categories of the built environment data are critically assessed:
    • perceived measures obtained by telephone interview or self-administered questionnaires
    • observational measures obtained using systematic observational methods (audits)
    • archival data sets hat are often layered and analyzed with GIS
  • This is the first substantial literature on measurement of the built environment for physical activity, a topic that is of importance to both researchers and practitioners
  • Future developments in measuring the built environment and physical activity should continually improve, ensuring relevance for diverse population groups, and integrating built-environment measures into public health surveillance and planning systems

Brownson, Ross C., Hoehner, Christine M., Day, Kristen, Forsyth, Ann, and Sallis, James F. “Measuring the Built environment for Physical Activity: State of the Science”. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 36.4 (2009) S99-S123.

“The Built Environment: Designing Communities to Promote Physical Activity in Children” (2009)

  • This article discusses how the built environment of a community affects children’s opportunities for physical activity
  • Walking to school is identified as the most universal opportunity for incidental physical activity, which are activities for which exercise is not the primary goal
  • The TAAG study, as noted in this policy report, provided evidence that every mile that a girl lived farther from school translated to significantly fewer minutes of metabolic activity per week
  • The policy report identifies 3 recommendations for pediatricians; ask patients about incidental physical activity opportunities in their community, ask patients to advocate for environmental improvements that will allow their children to walk to school, and advocate for opportunities that will increase physical activity for children
  • The policy report identifies 5 recommendations for government; pass and promote laws that promote active living, create and maintain green spaces, promote legislation and fund programs that create active commuting opportunities, fund research on the built environment and physical activity, and serve as a model for the community by siting buildings in locations that promote activity living.

Tester, June M. and the Committee on Environmental Health. “The Built Environment: Designing Communities to Promote Physical Activity in Children.” Pediatrics. 123.6 (2009) 1591-1598.

“Factors Associated with Federal Transportation Funding for Local Pedestrian and Bicycle Programming and Facilities” (2009)

  • This study examines bicycle- and pedestrian-related investments authorized by federal transportation legislation in 3,140 counties in the United States by region, population size and urbanization, social and economic characteristics, and indicators of travel-related walking and bicycling.
  • From 1992 to 2004, states and counties implemented 10,012 bicycle- and pedestrian-related projects representing $3.17 billion in federal expenditures.
  • Disparities in implementation and system-building outcomes were identified according to population size and location.
  • Counties characterized by persistent poverty and low educational status were less likely to implement projects.
  • Improved data tracking, more explicit linkages between transportation projects and public health, and improved planning assistance to underserved communities are the key policy recommendations for improving public health outcomes drawn from this research.

Cradock, Angie L., Troped, Philip J., Fields, Billy, Melly, Steven J., Simms, Shannon V., Gimmler, Franz and Fowler, Marianne. “Factors Associated with Federal Transportation Funding for Local Pedestrian and Bicycle Programming and Facilities.” Journal of Public Health Policy. 30 (2009): S38-S72.

“Correlates of Walking to School and Implications for Public Policies: Survey Results from Parents of Elementary School Children in Austin, Texas” (2009)

  • This study identifies correlations between walking behaviors to school and relevant policy implications.
  • Parents’ and children’s positive attitude, regular walking behavior, and supportive peer influences were positively correlated with walking to school.
  • Distance and safety concerns were strongly negatively correlated with walking to school, as well as the presence of highways/freeways, convenience stores, office buildings, and bus stops en route.
  • The findings of this study suggest that society should give high priority to lower socioeconomic status populations and to multi-agency policy interventions that facilitate environmental changes, safety improvements, and educational programs targeting both parents and children.

Zhu, Xuemei and Lee, Chanam. “Correlates of Walking to School and Implications for Public Policies: Survey Results from Parents of Elementary School Children in Austin, Texas.” Journal of Public Health Policy. 30 (2000): S177-S202.

“Bicycling for Transportation and Health: The Role of Infrastructure” (2009)

  • This paper provides insight on whether bicycling for everyday travel can help US adults meet the recommended levels of physical activity and what role public infrastructure may play in encouraging this activity.
  • 60% of the participants rode for more than 150 minutes per week during the study and nearly all of the bicycling was for utilitarian purposes, not exercise.
  • A disproportionate share of the bicycling occurred on streets with bicycle lanes, separate paths, or bicycle boulevards.
  • The study suggests that well-connected neighborhood streets and a network of bicycle-specific infrastructure encourages more bicycling among adults.

Dill, Jennifer. “Bicycling for Transportation and Health: The Role of Infrastructure”. Journal of Public Health Policy. 30 (2009): S95–S110.

“Walking and Cycling to School: Predictors of Increases Among Children and Adolescents” (2009)

  • This study examines predictors of active commuting to school among children and adolescents’ over a 2-year period.
  • Results report that children whose parents know many people in the neighborhood are more likely to increase their active commuting compared with other children.
  • Parents of adolescents who perceived there to be insufficient traffic lights and pedestrian crossings in their neighborhood were less likely to increase their active commuting.
  • This study implies that social factors as well as physical environmental characteristics are the most important predictors of active commuting among children and adolescents.

Hume, Clare, Timperio, Anna, Salmon, Jo, Carver, Alison, Giles-Cortie, Billie and Crawford, David. “Walking and Cycling to School: Predictors of Increases Among Children and Adolescents.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 36.3 (2009): 195-200.

“Children Living Near Green Spaces Are More Active” (2009)

  • In this study of children aged 8-10, for every additional park located within a half-mile of their home, girls are twice as likely to walk to school.
  • Boys are 60 percent more likely to walk in leisure time when a park is located within a half-mile of their home.
  • This study supports a statement from the American Heart Association made in June of 2008 stating, “walkable” neighborhoods, with adequate sidewalks and areas for physical activity, can play an important role in combating the rise in obesity rates by making it easier to get daily exercise.

Lamber, Marie, Kestens, Yan, Gauvin, Lise, Van Hulst, Andraea and Danie, Mark. “Children Living Near Green Spaces are More Active.” American Heart Association, 2009.

“The Influence of the Physical Environment and Sociodemographic Characteristics on Children’s Mode of Travel to and From School” (2009)

  • This study examines the socio-demographic and environmental influences on a child’s mode of travel between home and school in a mid-sized Canadian city.
  • Results show that 62% of students living within 1.6 km of their school used active travel to get to school in the morning, with 95% of the group walking.
  • Active travel is nearly 10% higher on the way home from school.
  • Analysis reveals that the distance between home and school is the most important factor in determining whether a child used active transport to get to school.
  • Socio-demographic analysis reveals that boys are 1.5 more times more likely to use active transport than are girls.
  • The findings of this study support the impact that school siting has on active travel to and from school.

Larsen, Kristian, Gilliland, Jason, Hess, Paul, Tucker, Patrick, Irwin, Jennifer and He, Meizi. “The Influence of the Physical Environment and Sociodemographic Characteristics on Children’s Mode of Travel to and From School.” American Public Health Association. 99.3 (2009): 520-526.