Date of Award

12-5-2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Karen Gieseker, PhD, MS - Chair

Second Advisor

John Steward, MPH

Abstract

This research assessed correlations between funding for pedestrian facilities, presence of walkways, and daily and weekly walking trips in a sample of United States residents living in metropolitan areas. The purpose of the research was to identify factors at the policy and environmental level which are associated with a greater frequency of walking trips, and therefore may influence physical activity levels. Data from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration’s 2001 National Household Travel Survey and the Thunderhead Alliance’s 2007 Benchmarking Report: Bicycling and Walking in the U.S. were combined to provide variables for the number of daily and weekly walking trips, perceived lack of walkways, age, distance to work, housing unit density for each household, household income, and per capita federal and non-federal funding for pedestrian facilities for each metropolitan area. Correlation analysis and analysis of variance was conducted to test for associations with walking trip frequency and lack of walkways. The results suggested that increased walking trips were associated with increased non-federal funding but not with increased federal funding; and that increased federal funding was associated with reduced lack of walkways (but not increased non-federal funding), especially for lower-income respondents. These associations were statistically significant but not strong. Very little research has been conducted on the health effects of funding for pedestrian facilities; this research showed that more extensive study in this area is needed and that further integration of public health into transportation planning is in order.

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