Creating Healthy Communities / Increasing Walking

Increasing Walking2021-03-25T20:49:40+00:00

Safe streets make communities healthier1

Increasing the amount of walking trips an individual makes can help meet recommended physical activity goals and improve fitness.2 Neighborhoods and workplaces should have the infrastructure to support those activities.6

This indicator shows the percent of individuals that walk to work.

This data is being presented as an alternative indicator for the original “Annual number of walk trips per capita” which was from a national survey that is no longer available. Exploration of additional data is underway to develop more comprehensive measures of walk trips per capita in California.

Indicator Progress

In 2006-2010 (baseline period), 2.8% of Californians reported walking to work. The most recent data available show 2.7% (2011-2015). We hope to reach a target of 5.6% by 2022.

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More Data

Walk Trips

Note: The indicator and data source have changed from the original LGHC 2012 Task Force Report as the original data source is no longer available. Walk to Work data is included as a proxy measure, but only represents a subset of walk trips. A new baseline and target will need to be developed for the new source.

Baseline

2.8%

Current Rate

2.7%

Target

5.6%

Indicator Highlights

A large family walking a trail.

A Culture of Health: Creation of the Healthy RC Steering Committee

The City of Rancho Cucamonga developed a steering committee comprised of community residents and city officials. The steering committee conducts assessments of resident feedback on various areas of health to provide direction for local community goals. As part of a broader community health plan, residents have provided feedback on how to improve infrastructure for physical activity in Rancho Cucamonga. Read more »

Active Design Guidelines and Icon

The County of Sacramento’s Active Design Guidelines and Icon innovation incorporates the use of active design strategies and guidelines to support and foster physical activity among its residents through the use of neighborhood design and strategic land use. Read more »

Only half of adults and about a quarter of high school students get the amount of physical activity recommended in national guidelines.3

Nearly one in four California adults report that they do not engage in physical activity.4

Active modes of transport – bicycling and walking alone and in combination with public transit – offer opportunities for physical activity, which is associated with lower rates of heart disease and stroke, diabetes, colon and breast cancer, dementia, and depression.5

Promoting optimal health before disease occurs: “As Americans, we lead the world in treating disease. As America’s Doctor, I believe we must also lead the world in preventing disease.” Surgeon General Vivek Murphy.3

Being physically active is one of the most important steps that Americans of all ages can take to improve their health.3

Disparities & Trends

Many studies have demonstrated that where we live plays a major role in our health. A variety of community conditions, sometimes called physical or environmental factors, improve or create barriers to health.1

People who live in highly walkable, safe, mixed-use communities with easy access to green space and public transit options have higher levels of physical activity and a lower body mass index (BMI).6

People in low-income communities have lower activity levels and higher BMI, due in part to their greater neighborhood barriers to physical activity.6

Increasing participation in active transportation puts more people on the road and can lead to increased risk of injury for pedestrians.6

Traffic-related injuries and deaths especially impact vulnerable populations such as older adults, children, communities of color, and low-income communities.6

The health benefits of active transportation at the population level outweigh the potential harm from increased pedestrian injuries.8

Percentage of Residents Who Walk to Work, by Demographic Category

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Percentage of Residents Who Walk to Work, by County

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Indicator: Percent of residents aged 16 years and older that walk to work, alternative to Annual number of walk trips per capita

Description: Active modes of transport – bicycling and walking alone and in combination with public transit – offer opportunities for physical activity, which is associated with lowering rates of heart disease and stroke, diabetes, colon and breast cancer, dementia and depression. This indicator presents data from the American Community Survey (ACS) from the US Census Bureau on the percent of residents aged 16 years and older that walk to work. This indicator can provide some indication of the walkability of a community for those that commute to work.


Data Limitations: The denominator of the indicator is limited to individuals with paid work. Commute trips to school are not included. Only the principal mode based on daily frequency or longest distance was used in the case of multi-modal trips on the same day or during the sample week.

Indicator Source: US Census Bureau, ACS tables DP03 “Selected Economic Characteristics” from http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml

Indicator Calculation Methodology: The ACS tables B08006 were downloaded from http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml for California counties and the state. The data on commuting to work for workers 16 years and over, mode of transportation “walked” was selected from the tables. Estimates for males and females were aggregated to obtaine a total population estimate and standard error. The denominator was the total population aged 16 years and older that had a paid job in the week previous to the survey, and the numerator was the number of people within that population that walked to work.

Data Collection Methodology: “The American Community Survey (ACS) is a national survey that uses continuous measurement methods. In this survey, a series of monthly samples produce annual estimates for the same small areas (census tracts and block groups) formerly surveyed via the decennial census long-form sample.” The ACS question related to means of transportation asks respondents “How did the person usually get to work last week?” Although commutes may involve multiple transportation modes (e.g., walking to a train station and then taking a train), respondents are restricted to indicating the single travel mode used for the longest distance. (Source: http://www.census.gov/hhes/commuting/about/faq.html#Q3).
The ACS prevalence estimates are period estimates that describe the average characteristics of the population in a period of data collection. The multiyear estimates are averages of the characteristics over several years. Multiyear estimates cannot be used to say what was going on in any particular year in the period, only what the average value is over the full time period. More information can be found here: http://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/methodology.html.

Program URL Link: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Pages/HealthyCommunityIndicators.aspx

Geographic Granularity: County

Reporting Cycle: 3 Years

Reporting Lag: 4 Years

1. Peck, C., Logan, J., Malzlish, N., & Van Court, J. (n.d.). The Burden of Chronic Disease. Retrieved November 16, 2015, from www.cdph.ca.gov: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Documents/BurdenReportOnline%2004-04-13.pdf

2. Let’s Get Health California Task Force. (2012). Let’s Get Healthy California Task Force Final Report. Let’s Get Healthy CA Task Force. Weblink: http://www.chhs.ca.gov/pages/LGHCTF.aspx

3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Step It Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General; 2015. Weblink: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/calls/walking-and-walkable-communities/call-to-action-walking-and-walkable-communites.pdf

4. Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch. (2014). Obesity in California: The Weight of the State. California Department of Public Health. Weblink: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/cpns/Documents/ObesityinCaliforniaReport.pdf

5. California Department of Public Health. (2013, November 20). CDPH Healthy Communities Data and Indicators Project. Retrieved November 17, 2015, from www.cdph.ca.gov: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Documents/HCI_Transportation_to_work_42_Narrative_and_examples_10-2-13.pdf

6. Office of Health Equity. (August 2015). Portrait of Promise: California Statewide Plan to Promote Health Equity and Mental Health Equity. California Department of Public Health. Weblink: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Documents/CDPHOHEDisparityReportAug2015.pdf

7. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Step It Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General; 2015. Weblink: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/calls/walking-and-walkable-communities/call-to-action-walking-and-walkable-communites.pdf

8. California Department of Public Health. (2012, March 12). Health Co-Benefits and Transportation-Related Reductions in Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Bay Area. California Department of Public Health. Weblink: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Documents/ITHIM_Technical_Report11-21-11rev3-6-12.pdf

Stories & Solutions

Collaborating to Create Walkable Communities

"Everyone should have access to spaces and places that make it safe and easy for us to walk or wheelchair roll—whether in urban, suburban, or rural settings. This means that the people who design our cities and neighborhoods should include well-maintained sidewalks, pedestrian-friendly streets, access to public transit, adequate lighting, [...]

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