NCCOR Looks at the Benefits of Improving the Built Environment

This past month, NCCOR published a “Systematic Review on Quantifying Pedestrian Injury When Evaluating Changes to the Built Environment” in Preventive Medicine Reports. Research shows that walkable communities have a positive impact on health, but there is a lack of evidence about additional benefits, such as improved social cohesion on injury prevention, which may foster buy-in from communities and other sectors. The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities described the need for developing measures and tools to quantify additional benefits of walkability and to evaluate and examine the effectiveness of interventions. As a result, NCCOR conducted a literature review to examine methods used to measure pedestrian injuries when evaluating changes to the built environment to support walking and walkable communities.

It is important to examine walking and pedestrian injury because interventions that make a community more walkable should promote pedestrian safety as well. The NCCOR review, however, revealed that few studies have quantified pedestrian injury in relation to built environment interventions that support walkable communities. The authors offer recommendations for future research that refines methods to quantify injury prevention and clarify the safety benefits of walkable communities. Closer collaboration between professionals in physical activity promotion and injury prevention will be important for additional research.

For more information, visit NCCOR’s Physical Activity Project Page. In addition to injury prevention, NCCOR has been reviewing the economic benefits of built environment approaches. NCCOR anticipates releasing translation materials for public health practitioners, decision-makers, and communities to support making the case for built environment improvements.

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