Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

Geography

Supervisor

Dr. Jason Gilliland

Abstract

Research on the relationship between the built environment and active transportation has accelerated and expanded over the past 20 years. This growth is in large part due to continuing evidence of rising rates in obesity and Type-2 diabetes that coincides with decreasing rates of physical activity across all ages in the post-industrial world. Walking more is a simple solution to increasing rates of physical activity. While for most people walking is possible throughout the day, there has been a decrease in the use of walking as a means of transportation. This study examines environmental determinants of active transportation from two perspectives: 1) working adults and 2) elementary school children. It adopts multiple methodologies for identifying travel corridors in geographic information systems (GIS) analysis and tests a novel technique by applying a hexagonal grid to extract built environment measures. Results from this research suggest global positioning system (GPS) tracking is a viable method to capture built environment measures, especially for children. As in previous studies, this study found distance between origin and destination to be the most important determinant to active travel with socio-economic status also playing a key role for adults and children. Results from this research are concurrent with previous literature while employing hexagons as a geographic unit. Examining the active transportation/built environment relationship through the use of GPS and a hexagonal areal unit is a new approach that deserves serious consideration for further research.


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