Validation of walk score® for estimating neighborhood walkability in Taiwan

Ting Fu Lai, Chien Yu Lin, Yi Hsuan Huang, Yung Liao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Although some studies have evaluated the concurrent validity of the Walk Score® as a measure of neighborhood walkability in the United States, Canada, and Japan, whether the Walk Score® is a valid measure in Taiwan has not yet been determined. Accordingly, this study examined how Walk Score® is correlated with geographic information system (GIS)-derived characteristics of neighborhood walkability for residential neighborhoods in Taiwan. Methods: A computer-assisted, telephone-based survey was conducted on older Taiwanese adults. Self-reported data (sociodemographic and residential neighborhood) were collected from 1040 Taiwanese residents aged 65 years or older. Five environmental characteristics (population density, intersection density, local destinations, sidewalk availability, and access to public transportation) were calculated for each neighborhood by using a GIS. Consequently, Walk Scores were calculated on the Walk Score® website (https://www.walkscore.com/) by inputting residential neighborhood information. The Pearson correlation coefficients between Walk Score® data and objective measures of environmental attributes (GIS data) were determined. Results: Significant positive correlations were discovered between the Walk Score® data and five GIS-derived environmental characteristics. Walk Score® was most strongly associated with intersection density (r = 0.70) and number of local destinations (r = 0.70). Conclusions: Consistent with the results obtained in Western countries and Japan, Walk Score®, a simple and low-cost tool, appears to also be a valid measure of neighborhood walkability in Taiwan. However, the tool should be applied with caution in the eastern regions and offshore islands of Taiwan. Walk Score® data can enable policy makers and public health practitioners to identify the walkability of local areas in Taiwan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-452
Number of pages8
JournalTaiwan Journal of Public Health
Volume38
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Aug
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Geographic information system
  • Neighborhood walkability
  • Walk Score

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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