Increased Street Connectivity Improves Public Health Outcomes

A new study, "Community Design, Street Networks, and Public Health" published in the Journal of Transport & Health finds that increased local street connectivity improves public health outcomes, apparently by encouraging more walking and cycling.

August 12, 2014, 1:00 PM PDT

By Todd Litman


Stockholm Complete Street

EURIST e.V. / Flickr

A new article, "Community Design, Street Networks, and Public Health," by professors Wesley Marshall, Daniel Piatkowski and Norman Garrick and published in the Journal of Transport & Health, finds that increased neighborhood street connectivity improves public health outcomes, apparently by encouraging more walking and cycling.

The study analyzed the street connectivity and intersection density of 24 medium-size California cities, and used health-survey data from a sampling of 42,000 to 51,000 adults for the years 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009 to see how the intersection design affects various health outcomes. It controlled for the food environment, land uses, commuting time, socioeconomic status, and street design. The results suggest that more compact and connected street networks with fewer lanes on the major roads are correlated with reduced rates of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease among residents..

This provides more evidence of the health and safety benefits of more compact, accessible and walkable communities.

Well done, Wesley, Daniel and Norman!

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