A recent study was just released that concludes that living in a walkable neighborhood is healthier than living in the suburbs! Another good reason to live in Seattle!
The Seattlest nominated this article for the “No Shit Sherlock” department in that it does not take a study to conclude that people who walk more will be healthier. However, to the study’s benefit, this kind of data gets used in the most obscure (yet important) ways. For example, I found the data to be extremely useful for a transportation demand management (TDM) tool I recently built for the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT). It can be so darn hard to quantify the benefits that make neighborhoods special that sometimes us engineers, (yes, I am an engineer by training) latch onto relatively obscure concepts like “walkability” in order to differentiate good neighborhoods from bad! Besides just letting us know that a walkable neighborhood is a healthier place to live, the study also helped to define what it means for a neighborhood to be walkable!
Bonus: One piece of my involvement in the TDM study involved creating a map that displayed the walkability of every single neighborhood in King County. My memory of the map was that the most walkable neighborhoods were almost all located in Seattle (surprise) with only a few located in the Eastside. If you’re really interested in learning more about what makes a neighborhood “walkable”, let me know!
The moral of this long-winded post? Living in a walkable neighborhood is not only more pleasant, but better for you!