February 22, 2013

Integrating Walkability Into Planning Practice -- winner of the 2012 TRB Ryuichi Kitamura Paper Award, for best student/mentor paper

The TRB Ryuichi Kitamura Paper Award is given annually to a student and mentor for scholarship in the areas of activity-based analysis, travel demand modeling, time-use research, dynamic analysis of travel behavior, travel survey methods, and transportation policy studies. Information: http://www.its.ucdavis.edu/?page_id=13856

Time

1:40 p.m. – 3:00 p.m

Location

1605 Tilia, Room 1103, West Village

Speaker(s)

Dr. Matthias N. Sweet, Instructor, School of Urban and Regional Planning, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada

Abstract

This study uses data from www.walkscore.com to assess walking behavior in four U.S. cities. Walk scores, measuring the so-called “walkability” of neighborhoods, are ubiquitous and, while the relationship between walk scores and real estate values has been established, the relationship between walk scores and walking has not. In this research we develop three models to understand the correlation between walk scores (as indicators of walkability, i.e. opportunity to walk) and walking. The models look at walk scores and walk mode share for different trip types. We illustrate what changes should be expected with changing walk scores along different parts of the walk score spectrum. Results suggest that walk scores may be used as a reasonable heuristic to assist in assessing trip impacts for individual projects. With the universal availability of such data, planners can establish a consistent, cost-effective tool for assessing walking behavior with robust and transferrable results.

Biographical Sketch

Matthias N. Sweet is an instructor at the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. His research agenda has focused on shaping transport policy to support more fundamental social objectives, including economic growth and productivity, access to opportunity, and individual health. He completed his Ph.D. in May 2012 at the University of Pennsylvania and wrote his doctoral dissertation, titled “Are We Done Fighting Traffic? Planning Congestion Resilient Regions,” under the supervision of Dr. Rachel Weinberger, Dr. John Landis, and Dr. Tony Smith. He completed his Master’s at the University of Georgia, where he researched the influence of highway investment on economic growth in the Atlanta region. He has experience working as a practicing transportation planning consultant in Charlotte, NC and in Long Island, NY for both public and private-sector clients.