Walk Score® and Transit Score® and walking in the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis

Am J Prev Med. 2013 Aug;45(2):158-66. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.03.018.


Background: Walk Score® and Transit Score® are open-source measures of the neighborhood built environment to support walking ("walkability") and access to transportation.

Purpose: To investigate associations of Street Smart Walk Score and Transit Score with self-reported transport and leisure walking using data from a large multicity and diverse population-based sample of adults.

Methods: Data from a sample of 4552 residents of Baltimore MD, Chicago IL, Forsyth County NC, Los Angeles CA, New York NY, and St. Paul MN from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (2010-2012) were linked to Walk Score and Transit Score (collected in 2012). Logistic and linear regression models estimated ORs of not walking and mean differences in minutes walked, respectively, associated with continuous and categoric Walk Score and Transit Score. All analyses were conducted in 2012.

Results: After adjustment for site, key sociodemographic, and health variables, a higher Walk Score was associated with lower odds of not walking for transport and more minutes/week of transport walking. Compared to those in a "walker's paradise," lower categories of Walk Score were associated with a linear increase in odds of not transport walking and a decline in minutes of leisure walking. An increase in Transit Score was associated with lower odds of not transport walking or leisure walking, and additional minutes/week of leisure walking.

Conclusions: Walk Score and Transit Score appear to be useful as measures of walkability in analyses of neighborhood effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Architectural Accessibility / standards*
  • Atherosclerosis* / ethnology
  • Atherosclerosis* / prevention & control
  • Atherosclerosis* / psychology
  • Environment Design / standards*
  • Female
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Qualitative Research
  • Regression Analysis
  • Research Design / standards*
  • Sedentary Behavior / ethnology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Transportation / standards*
  • United States
  • Walking / standards*
  • Weights and Measures