Objectives: To describe the design and baseline results of an evaluation of the Western Australian government's pedestrian-friendly subdivision design code (Liveable Neighborhood (LN) Guidelines).
Methods: Baseline results (2003-2005) from a longitudinal study of people (n=1813) moving into new housing developments: 18 Liveable, 11 Hybrid and 45 Conventional (i.e., LDs, HDs and CDs respectively) are presented including usual recreational and transport-related walking undertaken within and outside the neighborhood, and 7-day pedometer steps.
Results: At baseline, more participants walked for recreation and transport within the neighborhood (52.6%; 36.1% respectively), than outside the neighborhood (17.7%; 13.2% respectively). Notably, only 20% of average total duration of walking (128.4 min/week (SD159.8)) was transport related and within the neighborhood. There were few differences between the groups' demographic, psychosocial and perceived neighborhood environmental characteristics, pedometer steps, or the type, amount and location of self-reported walking (p>0.05). However, asked what factors influenced their choice of housing development, more participants moving into LDs reported aspects of their new neighborhood's walkability as important (p<0.05).
Conclusions: The baseline results underscore the desirability of incorporating behavior and context-specific measures and value of longitudinal designs to enable changes in behavior, attitudes, and urban form to be monitored, while adjusting for baseline residential location preferences.