Perceptions of Walkability and Determinants of Walking Behaviour among Urban Seniors in Toronto, Canada

Research has indicated the built environment strongly influences active transportation, though the specific mechanisms through which active transport occurs differ in findings. This study investigated the relationship between objective and subjective measures of walkability for seniors living in Toronto through a multi-phased, mixed-methods approach. Two neighborhoods within the city were selected as case study areas. Wychwood represented a high walkability neighborhood and Edenbridge-Humber Valley represented a neighborhood lower in walkability. The walkability audit, the Senior Walking Environmental Assessment Tool – Revised (SWEAT-R), served as the objective measure. Subjective measures included the use of focus groups, go-along interviews, and traditional interviews with twenty-eight seniors across both neighborhoods. The findings of this research highlighted the efficacy of objective measures existing in literature, but these did not adequately capture the holistic relationships between seniors and their surrounding environments. The subjective measures of walkability proved especially important for understanding perceptions of walkability and walking behavior. Additionally, the findings echo recent study findings that recommend theory-based approaches to walkability research may be more effective in accounting for human behavior in active transportation. This study concludes with practical and theoretical recommendations for planners, public health specialists, and other experts interested in promoting active transportation for seniors.


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  • Accession Number: 01673197
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 14 2018 3:53PM