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Barbara B. Brown, Ken R. Smith, Doug Tharp, Carol M. Werner, Calvin P. Tribby, Harvey J. Miller and Wyatt Jensen

Background:

Complete streets require evaluation to determine if they encourage active transportation.

Methods:

Data were collected before and after a street intervention provided new light rail, bike lanes, and better sidewalks in Salt Lake City, Utah. Residents living near (<800 m) and far (≥801 to 2000 m) from the street were compared, with sensitivity tests for alternative definitions of near (<600 and <1000 m). Dependent variables were accelerometer/global positioning system (GPS) measures of transit trips, nontransit walking trips, and biking trips that included the complete street corridor.

Results:

Active travel trips for Near-Time 2 residents, the group hypothesized to be the most active, were compared with the other 3 groups (Near-Time 1, Far-Time 1, and Far-Time 2), net of control variables. Near-Time 2 residents were more likely to engage in complete street transit walking trips (35%, adjusted) and nontransit walking trips (50%) than the other 3 groups (24% to 25% and 13% to 36%, respectively). Bicycling was less prevalent, with only 1 of 3 contrasts significant (10% of Near-Time 2 residents had complete street bicycle trips compared with 5% of Far-Time 1 residents).

Conclusions:

Living near the complete street intervention supported more pedestrian use and possibly bicycling, suggesting complete streets are also public health interventions.