Walking: Volume 9

Cover of Walking

Connecting Sustainable Transport with Health

Subject:

Table of contents

(22 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xiv
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Introduction

Pages 1-8
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Section 1 Walking: its Prevalence, its Benefits and its Variety

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Abstract

The mid-1990s marked a paradigm shift in the way physical activity is promoted, and walking is now considered the most suitable type of physical activity for widespread promotion. Accurate measurement underpins public health practice, hence the aims of this chapter are to: (1) provide a typology for the measurement of walking; (2) review methods to assess walking; (3) present challenges in defining walking measures; (4) identify issues in selecting instruments for the evaluation of walking and (5) discuss current efforts to overcome measurement challenges and methodological limitations. The taxonomy of walking indicates that secondary purpose walking is a more complex set of behaviours than primary purpose walks. It has many purposes and no specific domain or intensity, may lack regularity, and therefore poses greater measurement challenges. Objective measurement methods, such as accelerometers, pedometers, smartphones and other electronic devices, have shown good approximation for walking energy expenditure, but are indirect methods of walking assessment. Global Positioning System technology, the ‘Smartmat’ and radio-frequency identification tags are potential objective methods that can distinguish walkers, but also require complex analysis, are costly, and still need their measurement properties corroborated. Subjective direct methods, such as questionnaires, diaries and direct observation, provide the richest information on walking, especially short-term diaries, such as trip records and time use records, and are particularly useful for assessing secondary purpose walking. A unifying measure for health research, surveillance and health promotion would strongly advance the understanding of the impact of walking on health.

Abstract

The chapter was prompted by the trend towards providing public health messaging through social marketing. The purpose is to understand the determinants of walking within a city in terms of framing policy to promote greater physical activity (PA). This is demonstrated through the context of Sydney, New South Wales (NSW), Australia. The chapter provides a literature review and showcases a case-study. Descriptive statistics are presented on how far Sydneysiders walk using Household Travel Survey data and how this might be changed if short motorised trips are converted to walking. Modelling walking time follows to see if there are policy levers that could be used to increase walking time. Over 78% of Sydney’s population do not meet the recommended PA target of 30 minutes per day. Converting short motorised to walking provides marginal improvement. Walking to access activities contributes more to total walking time than walking to/from public transport. Modelling suggests potential policy levers to increase PA. Targeting driving licence holders, households without cars and promoting walkable environments are found most effective. Promoting undertaking more activities on foot is likely to be more successful than promoting walking for short trips. The chapter provides an overview of PA around the world and an empirical case study of walking in Sydney, NSW, Australia. In turn this provides an evidence base for more successful targeting of social marketing messaging for public health.

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Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to review and synthesise the available evidence for the health benefits of walking. It follows a non-systematic evidence review and finds that the evidence base for the health benefits of walking is growing. Increasingly we are finding strong evidence for the beneficial effects of walking for both individuals and populations. More evidence is required on how to better understand the health outcomes associated with walking and how to promote long term increases in walking behaviour. Systematic reviews of specific health benefits remain rare. Walking should be promoted in all population groups regardless of age or sex. There are currently few existing integrative syntheses of the physical and mental health outcomes associated with walking and this chapter aims to help fill that gap.

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Abstract

This chapter develops a comprehensive framework for evaluating planning decisions that affect walking conditions (“walkability”) and walking activity. It identifies various walking economic impacts (benefits and costs), describes methods for measuring those impacts, and discusses how to apply this information, based on the literature. The chapter finds that walking plays a unique and important role in an efficient and equitable transportation system, including affordable basic mobility, exercise and recreation, and access to other modes including public transit and parked cars. Walking is typically the second most common travel mode by trip mode share, and is particularly important for physically, economically and socially disadvantaged people. Improving walkability, increasing walking activity, and creating more walkable communities provides various economic, social, and environmental benefits. Conventional planning tends to undervalue many of these benefits, resulting in less support for walking than is optimal. Decision-makers increasingly want more comprehensive evaluation which considers a wider range of planning objectives and impacts. More comprehensive benefit analysis tends to justify more support for walking, and could lead to better planning decisions. Improving walking conditions helps create a more diverse, efficient, and equitable transport system which responds to changing demands and future needs. Walking is particularly important for disadvantaged people who tend to rely on walking for basic mobility, many of whom are constrained if walking conditions are poor. The analysis presented in this chapter is significantly more comprehensive than generally used in planning, and if used could lead to improved planning and enhanced walking.

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Abstract

Active school travel, such as walking or cycling to/from school, provides a significant source of physical activity for children. However, the number of children actively travelling to school has declined in recent decades while motor vehicle trips are increasing. The purpose of this chapter is to examine the primary Canadian approach in helping increase active school, through an intervention called School Travel Planning (STP). It addresses the following: explanation of the STP model; the research evidence on STP effectiveness; anecdotal feedback on factors facilitating and hindering STP effectiveness; the costs and benefits of STP; a case study of STP in Toronto; and STP-related tools and resources. STP is a multi-strategic, school-specific intervention that engages school and community-level stakeholders. Evidence demonstrates that STP can facilitate increases in active travel after the first year of implementation, though the degree of change can vary based on a range of factors. In terms of cost-benefit analyses, STP appears to be a relatively (1.8) cost-effective and feasible intervention, which can result in positive school travel behaviour change, while providing economic, environmental and physical activity benefits. Overall, STP can promote increases in active travel following one year of implementation and is relatively cost-effective, feasible, intervention to implement. The content provided in this chapter can inform future practices by highlighting key factors to consider when implementing STP. Also emphasised is the necessity of stakeholder involvement in initiatives promoting active travel to help tackle the complex set of barriers.

Dog Walking

Pages 113-135
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Abstract

This chapter aims to review evidence of the relationships between dog ownership, dog walking and overall walking and the factors associated with dog walking. It reviews the evidence using a social ecological framework. The chapter finds that dog ownership and dog walking are associated with higher levels of walking. A number of social ecological factors are associated with dog walking. Motivation and social support provided by the dog to walk and a sense of responsibility to walk the dog are associated with higher levels of dog walking. Positive social pressure from family, friends, dog owners and veterinarians is also associated with higher levels of dog walking. Built and policy environmental characteristics influence dog walking, including dog-specific factors such as access to local attractive public open space with dog-supportive features (off-leash, dog waste bags, trash cans, signage), pet-friendly destinations (cafes, transit, workplaces, accommodation) and local laws that support dog walking. Large-scale intervention studies are required to determine the effect of increased dog walking on overall walking levels. Experimental study designs, such as natural and quasi-experiments, are needed to provide stronger evidence for causal associations between the built and policy environments and dog walking. Given the potential of dog walking to increase population-levels of walking, urban, park and recreational planners need to design neighbourhood environments that are supportive of dog walking and other physical activity. Advocacy for dog walking policy-relevant initiatives are needed to support dog walking friendly environments. Health promotion practitioners should make dog walking a key strategy in social marketing campaigns.

Section 2 Environments and Walking

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Abstract

This chapter introduces how the built environment and walking are connected. It looks at the interrelationships within the built environment, and how those are changing given planning and policy efforts to facilitate increased walking for both leisure activity and commuting. Using a broad review and case-based approach, the chapter examines this epistemological development of walking and the built environment over time, reviews the connections, policies and design strategies and emerging issues. The chapter shows many cases of cities which are creating a more walkable environment. It also reveals that emerging issues related to technology and autonomous vehicles, vision zero and car-free cities, and increased regional policy may play a continued role in shaping the built environment for walking. This dialogue provides both a core underpinning and a future vision for how the built environment can continue to influence and respond to pedestrians in shaping a more walkable world.

Abstract

This chapter focuses on how to leverage public transport infrastructure to produce walk-friendly environments, positioning public transport as a walk-enhancing mode. What are the steps that public transport operators can take to create walk-friendly environments? Do more comfortable waiting conditions result in stronger loyalty from the existing customer base and stronger buyout from new customers? This novel approach stemmed from a partnership with the public transport operator Transdev on a real-life experiment in Grenoble to provide a more comfortable walking and resting experience for public transport users. Named Carrefour de Mobilité (‘the crossroads of mobility’), the experiment prototyped urban design interventions to enhance the access and waiting experience of users engaged in mixed-mode commuting. An ex ante/ex post evaluation was deployed to ascertain whether walk-friendlier environments encourage a more intensive use of public space and easier shifting between public transport modes. The findings show that when users perceive dedicated infrastructure as walk-friendly, they consider it more visible and more attractive, and find it comfortable enough to spend longer waiting times there. The evaluation would have benefited from an extension of the perimeter covered by the sensor technology measuring system which was not feasible because of budget constraints. The experiment reached out beyond the initial target public and captured children and older women as well, providing an amenity which was lacking for these groups and resulting in a livelier and more diverse environment for everyone. This lean and low-cost experiment shows that activating public space near public transport hubs enhances their attractiveness in the eyes of the public transport users.

Abstract

The size of the population classified as people with disabilities or older adults is increasing globally. The World Health Organization estimates that the average prevalence of disability is around 18% among adults age 18 and older. People with disabilities and older adults have lower levels of physical activity and experience significant barriers to walking in local neighbourhoods. A new perspective is needed that views disability in the context of the built environment and across the lifespan. The purpose of this chapter is to examine walking as an activity that is inclusive of any age, ability or assistive device used for mobility. Through a literature review, we illustrate the complex relationship that exists between individuals with disabilities/older adults and the built environment. We describe environmental and social factors, which have been found to be associated with walking among people with disabilities and older adults as well as factors perceived to be barriers to walking. Factors cited in the literature include aspects that fall into the environmental domains of the International Classification of Functioning. We conclude by highlighting key factors needed for planning supportive walking environments for people with disabilities and older adults. Recommendations include the use of walking audits to gain information on detailed aspects of the built environment, developing inclusive walking initiatives, including people with disabilities and older adults in the planning process and planning for maintenance.

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Abstract

Pedestrian injuries and deaths should be viewed as a critical public health issue. The purpose of this chapter is to show how incorporating safety from traffic into broader efforts to increase walking and physical activity has the potential to have a significant health impact. In this chapter we provide an overview of pedestrian safety considerations having to do with population health and the built environment. The chapter is organised around a conceptual framework that highlights the multiple pathways through which safe walking environments can contribute to improved population health. We review the existing literature on pedestrian safety and public health. Pedestrian safety will remain a vexing challenge for public health and transportation professionals in the coming decades. But addressing this problem on multiple fronts and across multiple sectors is necessary to reduce injuries and fatalities and to unleash the full potential of walking to improve population health through increased physical activity. This chapter uniquely contributes a conceptual framework for understanding the relationship between the walking environment and public health.

Section 3 Public Policy for Walking

Abstract

Walking for transport can contribute significantly to population levels of physical activity. Health agencies are consequently seeking opportunities to influence transport policy to achieve co-benefits of increased physical activity and reduced congestion. This case study utilised Kingdon’s ‘Multiple Stream’ theory as a framework to examine the policy development process that led to the establishment of the first ever state walking target and subsequent state walking strategy in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. This chapter presents how evidence compilation was translated into various policy solutions across sectors before an opportune political environment provided a brief ‘policy window’ (the 2011 state election in NSW, Australia and change of Government). The advantages of a ‘policy entrepreneur’ formally empowered to engage policy makers across multiple agencies and identify forthcoming ‘policy windows’ to frame politically palatable walking policy solutions is highlighted. No data have been compiled to measure the impact of the finalised policy upon walking in NSW. The case study reinforces previous research findings that walking policy development, like other areas of public health, is often based more on politics and professional judgement than on research evidence alone. Differences in walking target measures in the health and transport sectors influence which policy solutions are prioritised. The chapter describes the policy development process of the first state walking strategy in NSW, Australia to better understand factors that may influence similar future policy decisions.

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to review how well walking interventions have increased and sustained walking, and to provide suggestions for improving future walking interventions. A scoping review was conducted of walking interventions for adults that emphasised walking as a primary intervention strategy and/or included a walking outcome measure. Interventions conducted at the individual, community, and policy levels between 1990 and 2015 were included, with greater emphasis on recent interventions. Walking tends to increase early in interventions and then gradually declines. Results suggest that increased walking, and environmental-change activities to support walking are more likely to be sustained when they are immediately followed by greater economic benefits/time-savings, social approval, and/or physical/emotional well-being. Adaptive interventions that adjust intervention procedures to match dynamically changing environmental circumstances also hold promise for sustaining increased walking. Interventions that incorporate automated technology, durable built environment changes, and civic engagement, may increase cost-efficiency. Variations in outcome measures, study duration, seasons, participant characteristics, and possible measurement reactivity preclude causal inferences about the differential effectiveness of specific intervention procedures for increasing and sustaining walking. This review synthesises the effects of diverse walking interventions on increasing and sustaining walking over a 25-year period. Suggestions are provided to guide future development of more effective, sustainable walking interventions at the population level.

Abstract

The Ciclovía-Recreativa of Bogotá is a community programme in which streets are closed to motor vehicle traffic and open exclusively for people so they can enjoy a safe, free space for walking, jogging, cycling and skating. Currently, Ciclovía-type programmes have been implemented in cities from all the continents of the world. This case study aimed to assess the association between walking behaviours and Ciclovía participation among adults and older adults and the potential factors associated with the sustainability and scalability of this programme. Adults who reported participating in the Ciclovía were more likely to walk at least 150 minutes per week (POR 2.08, 95% CI 1.43–3.02). Likewise, among older adults, living in a neighbourhood with Ciclovía corridors was marginally associated with having walked for at least 150 minutes per week (POR 1.29, 95% CI 0.97–1.73). Main factors that could contribute to the development and sustainability of the programme include policies from different sectors concurrent with community support. Factors associated with the scalability of the Ciclovía include: (1) local officials that travelled the world to speak about Bogotá’s urban transformation, (2) a transnational network of sustainable transportation and public health advocates of the programme, (3) a network of Ciclovía experts that shared technical and administrative details needed to organise an event and (4) the digital technologies that made the viralisation of photos and videos of Bogotá possible. The Ciclovía is a multisectoral and scalable programme associated with the promotion of walking.

Section 4 Case Studies

Abstract

As a relatively new city by North American standards, Vancouver experienced tremendous growth in the early 20th century. Constrained by its location on a peninsula and surrounded by water, early planning and engineering decisions supportive of citizen accessibility also encouraged and reinforced walkability through strong streetcar networks, walkable neighbourhood commercial areas and the availability of single family housing. Citizen engagement in emerging walkability projects was predicated by the successful stopping of a freeway through the heart of Vancouver. As Vancouver’s planning and engineering policy developed, citizens synergistically worked with the City on several emerging projects that reinforced connection and walkability across the city. Often incepted as demonstration projects, many of these initiatives have been adopted as city policy and have applicability in other jurisdictions.The walkability neighbourhood demonstration projects described can be replicated in other municipalities to create positive impacts on walkability and city life. The effectiveness of these approaches in walkability are echoed in the innovative Olympic Village neighbourhood which housed the athletes at the 2010 Olympic winter games. Many of the concepts and best practices developed in walkable community projects have been melded in creating a successful walking environment garnering world attention. By enhancing walkability in neighbourhood projects, communities strengthened their area’s sustainability and social networks. The synergistic work between the municipality and the community is vital to the success and effectiveness of demonstration projects that can be adopted later as citywide policy.

Abstract

Vienna, Austria’s capital, is one of the most liveable cities worldwide and has undertaken various efforts to foster the attractiveness of walking. Although the share of walking in Vienna is already high, the city aims to further increase the level of walking trips, combined with the ambitious goal of 80 per cent of Eco mobility by the year 2025. In recent years walking has been integrated into different strategies and plans (such as Vienna’s smart City Framework Strategy, Urban Development Plan 2025 and Strategy Paper Pedestrian Traffic). In addition, the City of Vienna has instituted the Mobility Agency for Vienna with its own officers for walking and cycling. Infrastructure measures were complemented by strong communication activities. 2015 was declared as the ‘Year of Walking’, with a wide range of events, products and services to promote walking. To supplement these activities, a personalised travel planning campaign was integrated to encourage people to replace short car trips with active travel modes. The ‘Year of Walking’ 2015 campaign increased the awareness about the benefits of walking among citizens and improved Vienna’s image as a city suitable for walking. The latest modal split numbers and monitoring activities show the success of the integrated approach by an increase of walking trips. As walking has positive impacts on people’s health and the development of a healthier and more liveable urban environment, the City of Vienna is on the right path to foster a sustainable urban mobility lifestyle and quality of life for its citizens.

Abstract

This case study chapter reviews the evidence related to TransMilenio (TM) and its ability to promote walking among Bogotá’s citizens. A historical perspective of the Bus Rapid Transit system in Latin America and Bogotá is provided as well as some of the social, environmental and cultural implications. Through a literature review, studies that specifically assessed the role of TM in the promotion of walking and active transportation were identified. In addition, experts in the field were contacted to receive additional papers or reports from the grey literature that could have been missed through the peer-reviewed literature search. In December 2000, Bogotá implemented TM. The system has been successful in reducing traffic congestion, environmental pollution and travel times, as well as improving mobility in the city. Although not initially a goal of TM, some evidence suggests that the system has also served to promote walkability in the city. TM users are more likely to meet recommendations for daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and for walking for transportation, reaching an average of 22 minutes per day. Despite its many benefits, TM has some shortcomings that need to be recognised and addressed. In 2014, the daily number of TM users (2.2 million) surpassed the number of users of the traditional public transportation system, but there has still been a migration of users to private means of transportation such as motorcycles and automobiles.

Abstract

This chapter describes the construction and operation of a new concept in shared street design – the Pedestrian Priority Street (PPS). The PPS is a design concept and policy approach developed in Seoul, Korea. It specifically seeks to retrofit narrow and busy street networks to promote shared use and protect pedestrians. First the evolution of the PPS concept is described. This is followed by an account of the design, construction and evaluation of two pilot PPS projects in 2013, and a brief description of eight additional projects completed during 2014. The chapter concludes with some reflections on the future of PPS, including recommendations on strengths of the over-arching approach. Evaluation of PPS pilot projects shows that the general level of user satisfaction on treated streets was significantly increased and vehicle speeds were slightly decreased. Of note is that observation studies show a reduced incidence of pedestrians coming in risky proximity to vehicles. This indicates that the general possibility of pedestrian-car accidents decreased and a considerable change in driver behaviour. Other findings of interest relate to the need to involve the community in decision making about shared street design and the related need to design street treatments to reflect the surrounding land use. PPS in Seoul is reflective of a new era in shared street design and implementation, promoting streets as places to be, rather than simply thoroughfares to move through at speed. Its design concepts can be applied to any street, but will be particularly relevant to those seeking to retrofit narrow, car-dominated streets to be more balanced in their appeal to pedestrians as well as car users.

Section 5 Into the Future

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Abstract

This chapter provides a think piece about the future of walking, focussing on a discussion of some key areas which might be expected to influence how walking develops as a mode of transport in the coming years. The chapter explores how our dependence on walking might change in the future. It examines how much we know about walking and how much more we need to know to inform alternative futures where walking (and cycling) plays a considerably greater role in urban transport than is currently the case in most urban areas and how such urban areas might then operate. There are no findings as such, rather a collection of reasoned ideas about how aspects of walking might develop into the future. Such ideas are up for discussion and are not presented as hard fact or indeed the only such ideas. However, it is argued that without such future thinking and discussion the progress of change towards a more walkable future will not occur as quickly as it might. The chapter makes a case for change in the ways in which we use and consume transport in urban areas, as well as for more reasoned thinking about how our transport systems should operate in these urban areas and the type of places in which people have identified that they prefer to live and work.

About the Authors

Pages 399-412
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Index

Pages 413-427
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Cover of Walking
DOI
10.1108/S2044-994120179
Publication date
2017-06-16
Book series
Transport and Sustainability
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78714-628-0
eISBN
978-1-78714-627-3
Book series ISSN
2044-9941