The authors investigated the use of Google Earth’s Street View option to audit the presence of built environment features that support older adults’ walking. Two raters conducted virtual (Street View) and in-the-field audits of 48 street segments surrounding urban and suburban assisted living sites in metropolitan Vancouver, BC, Canada. The authors determined agreement using absolute agreement. Their findings indicate that Street View may identify the presence of features that promote older adults’ walking, including sidewalks, benches, public washrooms, and destinations. However, Street View may not be as reliable as in-the-field audits to identify details associated with certain items, such as counts of trees or street lights; presence, features, and height of curb cuts; and sidewalk continuity, condition, and slope. Thus, the appropriateness of virtual audits to identify microscale built environment features associated with older adults’ walking largely depends on the purpose of the audits—specifically, whether the measurer seeks to capture highly detailed features of the built environment.
Chudyk is with the Dept. of Medicine, and McKay and Ashe, the Dept. of Family Practice, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Winters is with the Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada. Gorman is with the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Address author correspondence to Anna Chudyk at email@example.com