Validation of Walk Score® for estimating neighborhood walkability

An analysis of four US metropolitan areas

Dustin Duncan, Jared Aldstadt, John Whalen, Steven J. Melly, Steven L. Gortmaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Neighborhood walkability can influence physical activity. We evaluated the validity of Walk Score® for assessing neighborhood walkability based on GIS (objective) indicators of neighborhood walkability with addresses from four US metropolitan areas with several street network buffer distances (i.e., 400-, 800-, and 1,600-meters). Address data come from the YMCA-Harvard After School Food and Fitness Project, an obesity prevention intervention involving children aged 5-11 years and their families participating in YMCA-administered, after-school programs located in four geographically diverse metropolitan areas in the US (n = 733). GIS data were used to measure multiple objective indicators of neighborhood walkability. Walk Scores were also obtained for the participant's residential addresses. Spearman correlations between Walk Scores and the GIS neighborhood walkability indicators were calculated as well as Spearman correlations accounting for spatial autocorrelation. There were many significant moderate correlations between Walk Scores and the GIS neighborhood walkability indicators such as density of retail destinations and intersection density (p < 0.05). The magnitude varied by the GIS indicator of neighborhood walkability. Correlations generally became stronger with a larger spatial scale, and there were some geographic differences. Walk Score® is free and publicly available for public health researchers and practitioners. Results from our study suggest that Walk Score® is a valid measure of estimating certain aspects of neighborhood walkability, particularly at the 1600-meter buffer. As such, our study confirms and extends the generalizability of previous findings demonstrating that Walk Score is a valid measure of estimating neighborhood walkability in multiple geographic locations and at multiple spatial scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4160-4179
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume8
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2011

Fingerprint

Buffers
Geographic Locations
Spatial Analysis
Public Health
Obesity
Research Personnel
Exercise
Food

Keywords

  • GIS
  • Multi-city
  • Neighborhood walkability
  • Validity
  • Walk Score®

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this

Validation of Walk Score® for estimating neighborhood walkability : An analysis of four US metropolitan areas. / Duncan, Dustin; Aldstadt, Jared; Whalen, John; Melly, Steven J.; Gortmaker, Steven L.

In: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Vol. 8, No. 11, 11.2011, p. 4160-4179.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{46e54e1ad95947ee931a37a9f55fa6bd,
title = "Validation of Walk Score{\circledR} for estimating neighborhood walkability: An analysis of four US metropolitan areas",
abstract = "Neighborhood walkability can influence physical activity. We evaluated the validity of Walk Score{\circledR} for assessing neighborhood walkability based on GIS (objective) indicators of neighborhood walkability with addresses from four US metropolitan areas with several street network buffer distances (i.e., 400-, 800-, and 1,600-meters). Address data come from the YMCA-Harvard After School Food and Fitness Project, an obesity prevention intervention involving children aged 5-11 years and their families participating in YMCA-administered, after-school programs located in four geographically diverse metropolitan areas in the US (n = 733). GIS data were used to measure multiple objective indicators of neighborhood walkability. Walk Scores were also obtained for the participant's residential addresses. Spearman correlations between Walk Scores and the GIS neighborhood walkability indicators were calculated as well as Spearman correlations accounting for spatial autocorrelation. There were many significant moderate correlations between Walk Scores and the GIS neighborhood walkability indicators such as density of retail destinations and intersection density (p < 0.05). The magnitude varied by the GIS indicator of neighborhood walkability. Correlations generally became stronger with a larger spatial scale, and there were some geographic differences. Walk Score{\circledR} is free and publicly available for public health researchers and practitioners. Results from our study suggest that Walk Score{\circledR} is a valid measure of estimating certain aspects of neighborhood walkability, particularly at the 1600-meter buffer. As such, our study confirms and extends the generalizability of previous findings demonstrating that Walk Score is a valid measure of estimating neighborhood walkability in multiple geographic locations and at multiple spatial scales.",
keywords = "GIS, Multi-city, Neighborhood walkability, Validity, Walk Score{\circledR}",
author = "Dustin Duncan and Jared Aldstadt and John Whalen and Melly, {Steven J.} and Gortmaker, {Steven L.}",
year = "2011",
month = "11",
doi = "10.3390/ijerph8114160",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "8",
pages = "4160--4179",
journal = "International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health",
issn = "1661-7827",
publisher = "Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)",
number = "11",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Validation of Walk Score® for estimating neighborhood walkability

T2 - An analysis of four US metropolitan areas

AU - Duncan, Dustin

AU - Aldstadt, Jared

AU - Whalen, John

AU - Melly, Steven J.

AU - Gortmaker, Steven L.

PY - 2011/11

Y1 - 2011/11

N2 - Neighborhood walkability can influence physical activity. We evaluated the validity of Walk Score® for assessing neighborhood walkability based on GIS (objective) indicators of neighborhood walkability with addresses from four US metropolitan areas with several street network buffer distances (i.e., 400-, 800-, and 1,600-meters). Address data come from the YMCA-Harvard After School Food and Fitness Project, an obesity prevention intervention involving children aged 5-11 years and their families participating in YMCA-administered, after-school programs located in four geographically diverse metropolitan areas in the US (n = 733). GIS data were used to measure multiple objective indicators of neighborhood walkability. Walk Scores were also obtained for the participant's residential addresses. Spearman correlations between Walk Scores and the GIS neighborhood walkability indicators were calculated as well as Spearman correlations accounting for spatial autocorrelation. There were many significant moderate correlations between Walk Scores and the GIS neighborhood walkability indicators such as density of retail destinations and intersection density (p < 0.05). The magnitude varied by the GIS indicator of neighborhood walkability. Correlations generally became stronger with a larger spatial scale, and there were some geographic differences. Walk Score® is free and publicly available for public health researchers and practitioners. Results from our study suggest that Walk Score® is a valid measure of estimating certain aspects of neighborhood walkability, particularly at the 1600-meter buffer. As such, our study confirms and extends the generalizability of previous findings demonstrating that Walk Score is a valid measure of estimating neighborhood walkability in multiple geographic locations and at multiple spatial scales.

AB - Neighborhood walkability can influence physical activity. We evaluated the validity of Walk Score® for assessing neighborhood walkability based on GIS (objective) indicators of neighborhood walkability with addresses from four US metropolitan areas with several street network buffer distances (i.e., 400-, 800-, and 1,600-meters). Address data come from the YMCA-Harvard After School Food and Fitness Project, an obesity prevention intervention involving children aged 5-11 years and their families participating in YMCA-administered, after-school programs located in four geographically diverse metropolitan areas in the US (n = 733). GIS data were used to measure multiple objective indicators of neighborhood walkability. Walk Scores were also obtained for the participant's residential addresses. Spearman correlations between Walk Scores and the GIS neighborhood walkability indicators were calculated as well as Spearman correlations accounting for spatial autocorrelation. There were many significant moderate correlations between Walk Scores and the GIS neighborhood walkability indicators such as density of retail destinations and intersection density (p < 0.05). The magnitude varied by the GIS indicator of neighborhood walkability. Correlations generally became stronger with a larger spatial scale, and there were some geographic differences. Walk Score® is free and publicly available for public health researchers and practitioners. Results from our study suggest that Walk Score® is a valid measure of estimating certain aspects of neighborhood walkability, particularly at the 1600-meter buffer. As such, our study confirms and extends the generalizability of previous findings demonstrating that Walk Score is a valid measure of estimating neighborhood walkability in multiple geographic locations and at multiple spatial scales.

KW - GIS

KW - Multi-city

KW - Neighborhood walkability

KW - Validity

KW - Walk Score®

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=82555193595&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=82555193595&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3390/ijerph8114160

DO - 10.3390/ijerph8114160

M3 - Article

VL - 8

SP - 4160

EP - 4179

JO - International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

JF - International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

SN - 1661-7827

IS - 11

ER -