A multi-site comparison of environmental characteristics to support workplace walking

Nicholas D. Gilson, Barbara Ainsworth, Stuart Biddle, Guy Faulkner, Marie H. Murphy, Ailsa Niven, Andy Pringle, Anna Puig-Ribera, Afroditi Stathi, M. Renée Umstattd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: This study assessed the environmental characteristics of ten universities, comparing the extent to which physical infra-structures are able to support a route-based walking intervention. Method: Following protocol standardization between and within sites, major pedestrian routes at main suburban campuses in seven countries (Australia, Canada, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Spain and the United States) were audited by researchers using an established inventory (March-June 2008). The inventory assessed key characteristics (e.g. size and employee number) and nine specific items (pedestrian facilities, vehicle conflicts, crossings, route-maintenance, walkway width, roadway buffer, universal accessibility, aesthetics and cover), scored on a five-point scale (1 = very poor; 5 = excellent). Item scores for each route, were combined and weighted, to provide indicators of low (score of 20-39), fair (score of 40-69), or good (score of 70-100) physical infra-structure support. Results: Sites varied in area (range of 7-1000 acres) and employee numbers (range of 700-7500 employees). Audits reported good support for route-based walking at seven sites (overall route score range = 72.5 ± 13.9-82.2 ± 17.4), fair support at two sites (overall route score of 69.1 ± 11.7 and 61.7 ± 14.6), and low support at one site (overall route score of 22.1 ± 7.3). Conclusions: Study methods highlight a valuable audit process, while findings identify the need to improve aspects of physical infra-structure at sites where the built environment may be less conducive for route-based walking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-23
Number of pages3
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1 2009


  • Audit
  • Environment
  • Walking
  • Workplace

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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