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Pedestrian and Bicycle Planning in Rural Communities: Tools for Active Living

Aytur, Semra A. PhD, MPH; Satinsky, Sara B. MPH, MCRP; Evenson, Kelly R. PhD; Rodríguez, Daniel A. PhD

doi: 10.1097/FCH.0b013e31820e0d47
Issues in Rural Health

Pedestrian and bicycle planning has traditionally been viewed from an urban design perspective, rather than a rural or regional planning perspective. This study examined the prevalence and quality of pedestrian and bicycle plans in North Carolina according to geography, regional planning, and sociodemographics. Plan prevalence was lower, but plan quality tended to be higher, in rural areas compared with urban areas. Correlations between plan prevalence and active commuting were strongest in lower-income rural areas. By engaging in the planning process, rural residents and other stakeholders can support active living.

Department of Health Management and Policy, University of New Hampshire, Durham (Dr Aytur); and Department of Epidemiology and Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Gillings School of Global Public Health (Ms Satinsky and Dr Evenson) and Department of City and Regional Planning (Dr Rodríguez), University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Correspondence: Semra A. Aytur, PhD, MPH, Department of Health Management and Policy, University of New Hampshire, Hewitt Hall, 4 Library Way, Durham, NH 03824 (

This work was supported through the North Carolina Physical Activity Policy Research Center funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cooperative agreement No. U48-DP000059 and an educational grant from the Southern Transportation Center. The UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention is a member of the Prevention Research Centers’ Program of CDC. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC. We thank Ginny Lee, David Salvesen, and Fang Wen at the University of North Carolina for help with data collection and analysis, and the North Carolina Department of Transportation Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation for help with plan collection.

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© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.