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Neighborhood characteristics and transport walking: Exploring multiple pathways of influence using a structural equation modeling approach

Authors: Jingjing Li*, Drexel University, Amy H. Auchincloss, Drexel University, Yong Yang, University of Memphis, Daniel A. Rodriguez , University of California Berkeley, Brisa N. Sánchez, Drexel University
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Geography and Urban Health, Urban Geography
Keywords: neighborhood effects; transport walking; residential preferences; walking attitude; structural equation modeling
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In studies of neighborhood effects on transport walking, residential preferences along with other personal characteristics (walking attitude, factors that affect decision to walk for transport) are important factors to consider. However, few studies have examined relationships between neighborhood characteristics and transport walking accounting for a complex suite of personal factors. This study employed a structural equation modeling approach to examine associations between neighborhood characteristics and transport walking behaviors by accounting for residential preferences, self-assessed factors that affect decision to walk for transportation, and socio-demographics; and to examine whether neighborhood effects are modified by walking attitude and residential preferences. Based on a cross-sectional phone and mail survey of 2,848 residents of New York City, Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Paul, and Winston Salem in 2011-12, we found neighborhood characteristics had significant independent associations with transport walking, even after adjusting for residential preferences and other personal factors. Neighborhood effects on transport walking did not differ significantly by walking attitude or residential preferences. Our findings highlight the importance of neighborhood effects in promoting transport walking, and suggest that while residential preferences are important factors, they do not obviate the neighborhood effects on transport walking.

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