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Am J Public Health. 2003 Sep;93(9):1478-83.

Walking, bicycling, and urban landscapes: evidence from the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Department of City and Regional Planning, University of California, 228 Wurster Hall, MC 1850, Berkeley, CA 94720-1850, USA.


Some claim that car-dependent cities contribute to obesity by discouraging walking and bicycling. In this article, we use household activity data from the San Francisco region to study the links between urban environments and nonmotorized travel. We used factor analysis to represent the urban design and land-use diversity dimensions of built environments. Combining factor scores with control variables, like steep terrain, that gauge impediments to walking and bicycling, we estimated discrete-choice models. Built-environment factors exerted far weaker, although not inconsequential, influences on walking and bicycling than control variables. Stronger evidence on the importance of urban landscapes in shaping foot and bicycle travel is needed if the urban planning and public health professions are to forge an effective alliance against car-dependent sprawl.

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