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Type: Thesis
Title: Constructing an objective index of walkability
Author: Coffee, Neil Terence
Issue Date: 2005
School/Discipline: School of Social Sciences
Abstract: Obesity is reported to be an epidemic (Cameron et al. 2003; Contaldo and Pasanisi 2003), particularly in western countries with 31 % of adults aged over 20 years in the US either overweight or obese in 1999-2000 (CDC 2004). A similar situation is reported in Australia with 16.7 % of the adult population (aged 18 or older) obese in 2001 and 34.4 % overweight (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2003). The US Surgeon General (1996) highlighted the link between increasing girth and decreasing activity levels and suggested that moderate intensity activity such as frequent walking could improve the health outcomes for overweight and obese people. Current public health recommendations emphasize the benefits of accumulating 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, such as walking, daily (Sallis et al. 2004). As walking for health reasons is important, factors that influence people to walk, in particular environmental influences, are the subject of a considerable research effort. A wide range of factors have been associated with walking behaviour by the public health professionals and transport and town planners, due to the recognition that neighbourhood design and land use may affect transport choice, such as automobile, public transit or walking/cycling (Saelens, Sallis and Frank 2003). A range of characteristics that are correlated with higher rates of walking review have been identified from the literature and grouped as the 3Ds (Cervero and Kockelman 1997) or proximity and connectivity (Sallis et al. 2004; Saelens, Sallis & Frank. 2003; Frank and Engelke 2001). Consistently, population density, land use mix, the street network and retail access are linked with definitions of neighbourhoods as either supporting walking behaviour or automobile dominated. This aim of this project is to build an objective walkability index based upon the physical environmental factors identified from the research and apply this to Adelaide, a large urban city in Australia using geographic information systems (GIS). Specifically, this study will build upon the work from the US (Frank et al. 2005) in delimiting cities into walk friendly or unfriendly, adapted to Australian data to provide the basis for an index that can be applied to Australian cities to highlight the variations across cities and between cities.
Advisor: Hugo, Graeme John
Dissertation Note: Thesis (M.A.)--School of Social Sciences, 2005.
Keywords: obesity, urban planning, physical fitness
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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