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IJERPH, Vol. 13, Pages 611: Walk Score, Transportation Mode Choice, and Walking Among French Adults: A GPS, Accelerometer, and Mobility Survey Study

20 Jun 2016

Background: Few studies have used GPS data to analyze the relationship between Walk Score, transportation choice and walking. Additionally, the influence of Walk Score is understudied using trips rather than individuals as statistical units. The purpose of this study is to examine associations at the trip level between Walk Score, transportation mode choice, and walking among Paris adults who were tracked with GPS receivers and accelerometers in the RECORD GPS Study. Methods: In the RECORD GPS Study, 227 participants were tracked during seven days with GPS receivers and accelerometers. Participants were also surveyed with a GPS-based web mapping application on their activities and transportation modes for all trips (6969 trips). Walk Score, which calculates neighborhood walkability, was assessed for each origin and destination of every trip. Multilevel logistic and linear regression analyses were conducted to estimate associations between Walk Score and walking in the trip or accelerometry-assessed number of steps for each trip, after adjustment for individual/neighborhood characteristics. Results: The mean overall Walk Scores for trip origins were 87.1 (SD = 14.4) and for trip destinations 87.1 (SD = 14.5). In adjusted trip-level associations between Walk Score and walking only in the trip, we found that a walkable neighborhood in the trip origin and trip destination was associated with increased odds of walking in the trip assessed in the survey. The odds of only walking in the trip were 3.48 (95% CI: 2.73 to 4.44) times higher when the Walk Score for the trip origin was “Walker’s Paradise” compared to less walkable neighborhoods (Very/Car-Dependent or Somewhat Walkable), with an identical independent effect of trip destination Walk Score on walking. The number of steps per 10 min (as assessed with accelerometry) was cumulatively higher for trips both originating and ending in walkable neighborhoods (i.e., “Very Walkable”). Conclusions: Walkable neighborhoods were associated with increases in walking among adults in Paris, as documented at the trip level. Creating walkable neighborhoods (through neighborhood design increased commercial activity) may increase walking trips and, therefore, could be a relevant health promotion strategy to increase physical activity.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health