Study Finds Many Wanting Walkability In Atlanta

A broad study of the travel habits and neighborhood choices of more than 18,000 Atlanta residents has found that a third of the people living in suburbs would have preferred a more walkable neighborhood.

Read Time: 2 minutes

January 30, 2007, 6:00 AM PST

By Nate Berg

"A report scheduled to be released in conjunction with a panel discussion of Georgia planners and health experts has expanded findings on the benefits of pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, and is adding a new discovery. Builders of expansive suburban subdivisions may say they're just satisfying market demand, but the market isn't satisfied at all, the study says. Instead, there is a significant, unmet demand for developments that make it easier to walk from place to place."

"'In all, about a third of metro Atlantans living in conventional suburban development would have preferred a more walkable environment, but apparently traded it off for other reasons such as affordability, school quality, or perception of crime,' the report says. It defines a walkable environment as one in which distances between destinations are comfortably reachable on foot, and the street network is well-connected rather than full of cul-de-sacs."

"The researchers also looked for people on the flip side, who may have wanted more of a suburban environment, but that pent-up demand was insignificant, said study author Larry Frank."

"Dubbed SMARTRAQ, it bills itself as the most comprehensive study of its kind, unprecedented in the depth of research done and the broad scope of questions it's being used to address on metro Atlantans' transportation and neighborhood choices. The researchers constructed a massive database of land use in 13 counties and compiled information on 18,000 metro residents' travel habits, and surveyed hundreds of people on other questions."

Friday, January 19, 2007 in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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