Association Between Neighborhood Walkability and GPS-Measured Walking, Bicycling, and Vehicle Time in Adolescents

Aspects of the built environment, including residential density, intersection density, and neighborhood walkability, are associated with increased walking and biking among teens.


  • Teens in high-walkable neighborhoods recorded 92% more walking, 97% more bicycling, 125% more transportation spent in active travel, and 13% less vehicle time than low-walkable neighborhoods.
  • Walking increased by 40%, and share of transportation spent in active travel increased by 64% for every 10 more housing units per parcel in a 1 kilometer radius from the teen’s residential area.
  • For every 20 intersections per square kilometer, walking increased by 22%; bicycling increased by 30%; percent mode share of walking and biking increased by 34%, and vehicle time decreased by 7%.


  • This study analyzed data gathered from 690 teens in neighborhoods representing high and low walkability and income levels in 380 census blocks groups from two U.S. regions.
  • GPS devices were used to gather minutes of walking, bicycling and vehicle time, accelerometers were used to estimate physical activity, and GIS data was used to collect built environment characteristics.
  • High and low walkability was determined by net residential density, intersection density, land use mix, and retail floor area ratio.

Carlson, J.A., Saelens, B.E., Kerr, J., Schipperijin, J., Conway, T.L., Frank, L.D., Chapman, J.E., Glanz, K., Cain, K.L., & Sallis, J.F. (2015).  Association between neighborhood walkability and GPS-measured walking, bicycling and vehicle time in adolescents. Health and Place 32, 1-7.

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