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      Active Transportation Safety Features around Schools in Canada

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          Abstract

          The purpose of this study was to describe the presence and quality of active transportation safety features in Canadian school environments that relate to pedestrian and bicycle safety. Variations in these features and associated traffic concerns as perceived by school administrators were examined by geographic status and school type. The study was based on schools that participated in 2009/2010 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey. ArcGIS software version 10 and Google Earth were used to assess the presence and quality of ten different active transportation safety features. Findings suggest that there are crosswalks and good sidewalk coverage in the environments surrounding most Canadian schools, but a dearth of bicycle lanes and other traffic calming measures (e.g., speed bumps, traffic chokers). Significant urban/rural inequities exist with a greater prevalence of sidewalk coverage, crosswalks, traffic medians, and speed bumps in urban areas. With the exception of bicycle lanes, the active transportation safety features that were present were generally rated as high quality. Traffic was more of a concern to administrators in urban areas. This study provides novel information about active transportation safety features in Canadian school environments. This information could help guide public health efforts aimed at increasing active transportation levels while simultaneously decreasing active transportation injuries.

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          How the built environment affects physical activity: views from urban planning.

          The link between the built environment and human behavior has long been of interest to the field of urban planning, but direct assessments of the links between the built environment and physical activity as it influences personal health are still rare in the field. Yet the concepts, theories, and methods used by urban planners provide a foundation for an emerging body of research on the relationship between the built environment and physical activity. Recent research efforts in urban planning have focused on the idea that land use and design policies can be used to increase transit use as well as walking and bicycling. The development of appropriate measures for the built environment and for travel behavior is an essential element of this research. The link between the built environment and travel behavior is then made using theoretical frameworks borrowed from economics, and in particular, the concept of travel as a derived demand. The available evidence lends itself to the argument that a combination of urban design, land use patterns, and transportation systems that promotes walking and bicycling will help create active, healthier, and more livable communities. To provide more conclusive evidence, however, researchers must address the following issues: An alternative to the derived-demand framework must be developed for walking, measures of the built environment must be refined, and more-complete data on walking must be developed. In addition, detailed data on the built environment must be spatially matched to detailed data on travel behavior.
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            Influences of Built Environments on Walking and Cycling: Lessons from Bogotá

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              The impact of transportation infrastructure on bicycling injuries and crashes: a review of the literature

              Background Bicycling has the potential to improve fitness, diminish obesity, and reduce noise, air pollution, and greenhouse gases associated with travel. However, bicyclists incur a higher risk of injuries requiring hospitalization than motor vehicle occupants. Therefore, understanding ways of making bicycling safer and increasing rates of bicycling are important to improving population health. There is a growing body of research examining transportation infrastructure and the risk of injury to bicyclists. Methods We reviewed studies of the impact of transportation infrastructure on bicyclist safety. The results were tabulated within two categories of infrastructure, namely that at intersections (e.g. roundabouts, traffic lights) or between intersections on "straightaways" (e.g. bike lanes or paths). To assess safety, studies examining the following outcomes were included: injuries; injury severity; and crashes (collisions and/or falls). Results The literature to date on transportation infrastructure and cyclist safety is limited by the incomplete range of facilities studied and difficulties in controlling for exposure to risk. However, evidence from the 23 papers reviewed (eight that examined intersections and 15 that examined straightaways) suggests that infrastructure influences injury and crash risk. Intersection studies focused mainly on roundabouts. They found that multi-lane roundabouts can significantly increase risk to bicyclists unless a separated cycle track is included in the design. Studies of straightaways grouped facilities into few categories, such that facilities with potentially different risks may have been classified within a single category. Results to date suggest that sidewalks and multi-use trails pose the highest risk, major roads are more hazardous than minor roads, and the presence of bicycle facilities (e.g. on-road bike routes, on-road marked bike lanes, and off-road bike paths) was associated with the lowest risk. Conclusion Evidence is beginning to accumulate that purpose-built bicycle-specific facilities reduce crashes and injuries among cyclists, providing the basis for initial transportation engineering guidelines for cyclist safety. Street lighting, paved surfaces, and low-angled grades are additional factors that appear to improve cyclist safety. Future research examining a greater variety of infrastructure would allow development of more detailed guidelines.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                ijerph
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                MDPI
                1661-7827
                1660-4601
                31 October 2013
                November 2013
                : 10
                : 11
                : 5711-5725
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Public Health Sciences, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada; E-Mails: bryn.pinkerton@ 123456mail.mcgill.ca (B.P.); ian.janssen@ 123456queensu.ca (I.J.)
                [2 ]Departments of Biology and International Development Studies, McGill University, Montreal, QC H3A 0G4, Canada
                [3 ]School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada; E-Mail: rosua@ 123456queensu.ca
                [4 ]Department of Emergency Medicine, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON K7L 2V7, Canada
                Author notes
                [* ] Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail: will.pickett@ 123456queensu.ca ; Tel.: +1-613-533-6000 (ext. 79551); Fax: +1-613-548-1381.
                Article
                ijerph-10-05711
                10.3390/ijerph10115711
                3863867
                24185844
                b4e0c8a7-ce27-41d3-b5dd-5fc6d39e4f93
                © 2013 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

                This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).

                History
                : 15 August 2013
                : 10 October 2013
                : 26 October 2013
                Categories
                Article

                Public health
                injury,safety,traffic,schools,cyclist,policy,pedestrian,environment,road
                Public health
                injury, safety, traffic, schools, cyclist, policy, pedestrian, environment, road

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