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Is Your Neighborhood Designed to Support Physical Activity? A Brief Streetscape Audit Tool
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.5888/pcd12.150098
IntroductionMacro level built environment factors (eg, street connectivity, walkability) are correlated with physical activity. Less studied but more modifiable microscale elements of the environment (eg, crosswalks) may also affect physical activity, but short audit measures of microscale elements are needed to promote wider use. This study evaluated the relation of a 15-item neighborhood environment audit tool with a full version of the tool to assess neighborhood design on physical activity in 4 age groups.
MethodsFrom the 120-item Microscale Audit of Pedestrian Streetscapes (MAPS) measure of street design, sidewalks, and street crossings, we developed the 15-item version (MAPS-Mini) on the basis of associations with physical activity and attribute modifiability. As a sample of a likely walking route, MAPS-Mini was conducted on a 0.25-mile route from participant residences toward the nearest nonresidential destination for children (n = 758), adolescents (n = 897), younger adults (n = 1,655), and older adults (n = 367). Active transportation and leisure physical activity were measured with age-appropriate surveys, and accelerometers provided objective physical activity measures. Mixed-model regressions were conducted for each MAPS item and a total environment score, adjusted for demographics, participant clustering, and macrolevel walkability.
ResultsTotal scores of MAPS-Mini and the 120-item MAPS correlated at r = .85. Total microscale environment scores were significantly related to active transportation in all age groups. Items related to active transport in 3 age groups were presence of sidewalks, curb cuts, street lights, benches, and buffer between street and sidewalk. The total score was related to leisure physical activity and accelerometer measures only in children.
ConclusionThe MAPS-Mini environment measure is short enough to be practical for use by community groups and planning agencies and is a valid substitute for the full version that is 8 times longer.
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