Conducting Environmental Assessments for Physical Activity: Determining Traffic Volume in Walkability Audits in Two West Virginia Communities

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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In this article, we examine the possibility of reducing time to conduct traffic volume audits through (1) reducing time for manual traffic counting and (2) using Department of Transportation (DOT) information.


In audits of 824 road segments in 2 West Virginia (WV) communities, manual traffic counts were recorded for 1, 2, and 5 minutes in duration. Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) was calculated from counts. Available AADT from DOT was also collected. Percent agreement and a weighted kappa were calculated between 5-minute count and 1- and 2-minute count AADT categories and between 5-minute count and DOT AADT categories.


One- and 2-minute counts produced identical AADT categories as 5-minute counts in 93.4% and 95.0% of segments, respectively. Weighted kappa was 0.79 (95% CI = 0.74–0.85) and 0.85 (95% CI = 0.80–0.89), respectively. Forty-two segments (5.1%) had DOT data.


DOT AADT was available for a small percentage of road segments assessed. The high agreement between AADT categories produced by 1- and 2-minute counts and 5-minute counts makes it reasonable to consider using 1- or 2-minute manual traffic counts if time or staffing constraints make it necessary. Possible generalizability of this methodology to other communities, particularly larger urban and suburban areas, will require further research.

Lee, Rutt, Sharma, Pratt, Flesch, Maynard, and Kohl are with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341. Kennedy and Adams are with the West Virginia Health Dept, Charleston, WV 25301.