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C-12 Free Communication/Slide - Active Transport: Getting There: MAY 28, 2009 8: 00 AM - 10: 00 AM ROOM: 611

A Multi-site Comparison Of Environmental Characteristics To Support Route-based Walking In Workplaces.


May 28 9:30 AM - 9:45 AM

Gilson, Nicholas D. FACSM; Ainsworth, Barbara FACSM; Biddle, Stuart; Faulkner, Guy; Murphy, Marie; Niven, Ailsa; Pringle, Andy; Puig-Ribera, Anna; Stathis, Afroditi; Urmstattd, Renee

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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2009 - Volume 41 - Issue 5 - p 47-48
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000353412.78115.a9
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This study assessed the environmental characteristics of ten universities, comparing the extent to which physical infra-structures are able to support a route-based walking intervention.

METHODS: Participant institutions were universities from Australia, Canada, England (×3), Northern Ireland, Scotland, Spain and the USA (×2). Major pedestrian routes on each university's main suburban campus were audited by researchers using a pedometer (Yamax SW-200) and an established inventory. The inventory assessed key campus characteristics (area and employee numbers), and nine specific items (pedestrian facilities, vehicle conflicts, crossings, route-maintenance, walkway width, roadway buffer, universal accessibility, aesthetics and cover), scored on a five-point scale (1=poor; 5=excellent). Prior to full audit, evaluation protocol was standardised across sites by researchers scoring digital recordings of routes posted on the internet; inter-rater reliabilities were assessed by Spearman's rank correlation. Following full audits, item scores for each route, at each site, were combined and weighted, to provide indicators of poor (score of 20-39), fair (score of 40-69), or good (score of 70-100) physical infra-structure; these route scores were then summed and averaged to provide an overall score for each campus.

RESULTS: Campuses varied in area (range of 3-405 hectares) and employee numbers (range of 700-7500 employees); the number and length of major pedestrian routes were also diverse (range of 10-28 identified routes, with lengths ranging from 187-1090 step counts). Inter-rater reliability scores were high (rho2=0.71-0.94). Full site audits reported good physical infra-structure to support route-based walking at eight campuses (overall route scores ranged from 72.5±13.9 -to- 82.2±17.4), with one campus providing fair support (overall route score of 61.7±14.6) and one poor support (overall route score of 22.1±7.3).

CONCLUSIONS: Findings provide a valuable pre-intervention audit of environmental characteristics to support walking at ten university sites. More specifically, they identify the need to adapt employee walking intervention strategies at sites where physical infra-structure is less conducive for route-based walking.

© 2009 American College of Sports Medicine