Kelly R. Evenson, Semra A. Aytur, Sara B. Satinsky, Zachary Y. Kerr and Daniel A. Rodríguez
We surveyed North Carolina (NC) municipalities to document the presence of municipal walking- and bicycling-related projects, programs, and policies; to describe whether prevalence of these elements differed if recommended in a plan; and to characterize differences between urban and rural municipalities.
We surveyed all municipalities with ≥ 5000 persons (n = 121) and sampled municipalities with < 5000 persons (216/420), with a response rate of 54% (183/337). Responses were weighted to account for the sampling design.
From a list provided, staff reported on their municipality’s use of walking- and bicycling-related elements (8 infrastructure projects, 9 programs, and 14 policies). The most commonly reported were projects on sidewalks (53%), streetscape improvements (51%), bicycle/walking paths (40%); programs for cultural/recreational/health (25%), general promotional activities (24%), Safe Routes to School (24%), and law enforcement (24%); and policies on maintenance (64%), new facility construction (57%), and restricted automobile speed or access (45%). Nearly all projects, programs, or policies reported were more likely if included in a plan and more prevalent in urban than rural municipalities.
These results provide cross-sectional support that plans facilitate the implementation of walking and bicycling elements, and that rural municipalities plan and implement these elements less often than urban municipalities.
Amy Eyler, Tina Lankford, Jamie Chriqui, Kelly R. Evenson, Judy Kruger, Nancy Tompkins, Carolyn Voorhees, Susan Zieff, Semra Aytur and Ross Brownson
Trails provide opportunities for recreation, transportation and activity. The purpose of this article is to describe state legislation related to community trails, to analyze legislation content, and to evaluate legislation on inclusion of evidence-informed elements.
State trail legislation from 2001 to 2008 was identified using online legislative databases. An analysis of evidence-informed elements included in the legislation was conducted. These elements included: funding, liability, accessibility, connectivity, and maintenance.
Of the total 991 trail bills, 516 (52.0%) were appropriations bills, of which 167 (32.2%) were enacted. We analyzed 475 (48%) nonappropriation trail bills of which 139 (29.3%) were enacted. The percentage of enactment of appropriations bills decreased over time while enactment of nonappropriations trail bills increased. Over half of the nonappropriations trail bills included at least 1 evidence-informed element, most commonly funding. Few bills contained liability, connectivity, accessibility, or maintenance.
There is opportunity for providing evidence-informed information to policy-makers to potentially influence bill content. The number of bills with a funding element demonstrates that fiscal support for trails is an important policy lever that state legislatures may use to support trails. Lastly, trails should be considered in over-all state-level physical activity legislation to provide opportunities for communities to be active.
Lesley Steinman, Mark Doescher, David Levinger, Cynthia Perry, Louise Carter, Amy Eyler, Semra Aytur, Angie L.I. Cradock, Kelly R. Evenson, Katie Heinrich, Jacqueline Kerr, Jill Litt, Yucel Severcan and Carolyn Voorhees
Recent research demonstrates the importance of targeting the built environment to support individual physical activity, particularly for people experiencing health disparities. Master plans to promote biking and/or pedestrians (BPMPs) are a potential method for environmental change. This descriptive study aims to provide a snapshot of plan attributes and better understand demographic, social and transportation characteristics of communities with BPMPs.
We collected a census sample of BPMPs from 4 states. Population and commuting data were obtained from national statistics.
294 master plans were included, with most plans representing municipalities. 62% of plans targeted biking only, one-fifth targeted biking and walking, and 15% targeted walking only. The sampled locations have a similar demographic profile as the overall U.S. for median age and household income, people of color, high school education, and income inequality. The degree of racial diversity of sampled communities is slightly less than the U.S. average and the percentage of people who walk to work were slightly higher.
Given that communities with master plans have a similar profile as the overall U.S., BPMPs could feasibly be spread to communities throughout the country. Further research is planned to describe BPMPs in detail toward informing future plan development.