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July 1, 2022

Higher Residential and Employment Densities Are Associated with More Objectively Measured Walking in the Home Neighborhood

Huang, Ruizhu; Moudon, Anne, V; Zhou, Chuan; Saelens, Brian E. (2019). Higher Residential and Employment Densities Are Associated with More Objectively Measured Walking in the Home Neighborhood. Journal Of Transport & Health, 12, 142 – 151.

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Introduction: Understanding where people walk and how the built environment influences walking is a priority in active living research. Most previous studies were limited by self-reported data on walking. In the present study, walking bouts were determined by integrating one week of accelerometry, GPS, and a travel log data among 675 adult participants in the baseline sample of the Travel Assessment and Community study at Seattle, Washington in the United State. Methods: Home neighborhood was defined as being within 0.5 mile of each participants' residence (a 10-min walk), with home neighborhood walking defined as walking bout lines with at least one GPS point within the home neighborhood. Home neighborhood walkability was constructed with seven built environment variables derived from spatially continuous objective values (SmartMaps). Collinearity among neighborhood environment variables was analyzed and variables that were strongly correlated with residential density were excluded in the regression analysis to avoid erroneous estimates. A Zero Inflated Negative Binomial (ZINB) served to estimate associations between home neighborhood environment characteristics and home neighborhood walking frequency. Results: The study found that more than half of participants' walking bouts occurred in their own home neighborhood. Higher residential density and job density were the two neighborhood walkability measures related to higher likelihood and more time walking in the home neighborhood, highest tertile residential density (22.4-62.6 unit/ha) (coefficient= 1.43; 95% CI 1.00-2.05) and highest tertile job density (12.4-272.3 jobs/acre) (coefficient= 1.62; 1.10-2.37). Conclusions: The large proportion of walking that takes place in the home neighborhood highlights the importance of continuing to examine the impact of the home neighborhood environment on walking. Potential interventions to increase walking behavior may benefit from increasing residential and employment density within residential areas.


Body-mass Index; Built Environment; Physical-activity; Land Uses; Epidemiology; Selection; Location; Obesity; Travel Assessment And Community; Smartmaps; Neighborhood Environment; Physical Activity; Walking