Denser Communities = More Calories Burned

Dr. Lawrence Frank (U. of British Columbia) et.al. looked at Atlanta to make the connection between health reform and transportation reform, devising a clever 'energy index'. While the index rose in denser neighborhoods, it didn't in mixed-use ones.

The results of the survey were surprising. Density without mixed use produced greater amounts of walking and biking than those with mixed use.

"Frank, Steve Winkelman of D.C.'s Center for Clean Air Policy, and Michael Greenwald of the Seattle-based firm Urban Design 4 Health used data from Atlanta's SMARTRAQ survey to map the amount of calories burned by various blends of walking, transit, and car use. That calorie-burning factor was dubbed the "energy index."

The "energy index" of Atlantans increased significantly as their neighborhoods grew denser, according to the study, and the number of calories they used on motorized travel shrank in denser, more walkable areas...In neighborhoods where mixed-use development grew, bringing housing closer to commercial property, the energy used for driving and walking decreased, leaving Atlantans' "energy index" unaffected."

"This result likely demonstrates that the energy required to travel in a very mixed land use pattern is lower for both walking and driving - with no real impact on the relationship between the two modes," the study's authors wrote.

From Streetsblog, Transportation Reform Is Health Reform:
"For every long-term $1 increase in gas prices, the national obesity rate drops by 10 percent, according to Courtemanche. That relationship goes a long way towards explaining why the House and Senate health care bills include "community transformation" grants to entice cities and towns into building bike paths, playgrounds, and other pedestrian-friendly improvements."

Thanks to Catherine Cecchi

Full Story: Study: Even in Car-Centric Atlanta, Transport Reform is Health Reform

Comments

Comments

Well duh...

In mixed use things are closer then single use zoning; thus you have to walk farther when things aren't right down the block or in the bottom floor of your building. This study really shows the 'duh factor'.

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
Women's t-shirt with map of Los Angeles

City T-Shirts for the ladies!

Women's Supersoft CityFabric© Fashion Fit Tees. Now available in six different cities.
$24.00
Wood necklace with city map

City Necklaces

These sweet pendants are engraved on a cedar charm with a mini map of selected cities. The perfect gift for friends and family or yourself!
$28.00