Measuring the walkability of local communities using geographic information systems data

Leslie, Eva, Butterworth, Iain and Edwards, Melissah 2006, Measuring the walkability of local communities using geographic information systems data, in Walk 21 : Melbourne walk 21 2006, Walk 21, [Melbourne. Vic.].

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Title Measuring the walkability of local communities using geographic information systems data
Author(s) Leslie, Eva
Butterworth, Iain
Edwards, Melissah
Conference name International Conference on Walking and Liveable Communities (7th : 2006 : Melbourne, Victoria)
Conference location Melbourne, Victoria
Conference dates 23 - 25 October 2006
Title of proceedings Walk 21 : Melbourne walk 21 2006
Publication date 2006
Publisher Walk 21
Place of publication [Melbourne. Vic.]
Summary Researchers are working to identify and promote environment and policy initiatives to encourage more active and healthy communities. Measuring environmental attributes through objective means can verify which physical environment factors are most important. We describe how Geographic Information Systems (GIS) may be used to measure objectively, the features of the built environment that may influence walking. We show how four key attributes currently believed to be of most relevance to walking for transport may be used to create a ‘walkability’ index. These are dwelling density (higher-density neighbourhoods support greater retail and service variety, resulting in shorter, walkable distances between facilities; driving and parking are more difficult); street connectivity (higher intersection density provides people with a greater choice of potential routes, easier access to major roads where public transport is available and shorter times to get to destinations); land use mix (the more varied the land use mix and built form, the more conducive it is to walk to various destinations); and net retail area (people who live near multiple and diverse retail opportunities are able to make more frequent and shorter shopping trips by walking and can walk to more local employment opportunities). The potential relationships between each of the objective environmental-attribute measures and walking behaviours is discussed, together with suggestions as to how such measures might be used to guide community infrastructure planning. GIS mapping can assist decision makers in where to focus transportation investments and where to guide future growth. Readily accessible GIS data can be used to guide and support urban planning and infrastructure investment decisions in both the private and public sectors, to increase walking in communities.
Language eng
Field of Research 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category E2 Full written paper - non-refereed / Abstract reviewed
Copyright notice ©2006, Walk 21
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Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Health and Social Development
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