Walking Routes to School in New Urban and Suburban Neighborhoods: An Environmental Walkability Analysis of Blocks and Routes

This study assesses the environmental and perceptual correlates of walking and walkability for fifth graders from three communities attending two schools: A new urban/LEED-ND pilot community, mixed, and standard suburban community.

  • Irvine-Minnesota Inventory (IMI) walkability audits showed that new urban blocks provided more traffic safety, pleasurability, crime safety, density, and diversity. New urban routes offered greater traffic safety, accessibility, pleasurability, crime safety, and diversity, but suburban routes had greater housing density, net of controls (parental education, rooms in the home, home ownership, parent preference for child to walk to school).
  • Parents and children perceived new urban routes to be more walkable and children walked more when they lived on more walkable routes. The suburban hierarchical street design exposed children to varied traffic safety conditions by funneling their walks from cul-de-sacs to arterials. The new urban routes to a centrally located school passed by pleasant open spaces, suggesting how community organization can create better walking conditions.

Gallimore, J. M., B. B. Brown, et al. (2011). "Walking routes to school in new urban and suburban neighborhoods: An environmental walkability analysis of blocks and routes." Journal of Environmental Psychology.

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