- This is a systematic review of 40 health impact assessments (HIAs) of walkability. HIAs are a tool to measure the impact and health benefits of policies and projects.
- Of the HIAs reviewed for this study, more than ninety percent reported improvements in health or health behavior resulting from a project or policy focused on walkability.
- Based on this study, HIAs reported the impact of walkability on cardiovascular disease most frequently, followed by diabetes, cancer, mental illness, premature death, respiratory disease, traffic accidents, and obesity.
- More research is needed on the health impacts of walkability to support its importance in the urban planning process. Measured impact can be more expansive to not only increased physical activity but also social interaction, and improved perceptions of safety in the community. It can also include social inequalities and whether or not the benefits or harms of projects or policies are disproportionate among certain population groups.
- Public health practitioners can use HIAs to support Safe Routes to Schools-related programs, plans, or policies.
Westenhöfer, J., Nouri, E., Reschke, M.L., Seebach, F., and Buchcik, J. “Walkability and urban built environment – a systematic review of health impact assessments (HIA).” BMC Public Health 23, (2023).