Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New toolkit developed to help communities evaluate open streets initiatives

Date:
February 3, 2014
Source:
Washington University in St. Louis
Summary:
Open Streets Initiatives -- the opening of streets normally reserved for vehicle traffic to temporarily allow cycling, walking, dancing and socializing -- are growing in the United States. Now a toolkit is in place to help communities and organizers measure their positive impact.

Open Streets Initiatives -- the opening of streets normally reserved for vehicle traffic to temporarily allow cycling, walking, dancing and socializing -- are growing in the United States.
Credit: Image courtesy of Washington University in St. Louis

Open Streets Initiatives -- the opening of streets normally reserved for vehicle traffic to temporarily allow cycling, walking, dancing and socializing -- are growing in the United States. Now, thanks to researchers at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, a toolkit is in place to help communities and organizers measure their positive impact.

"More than 100 cities in the United States have hosted an Open Streets event in the last five years," says J. Aaron Hipp, PhD, assistant professor of public health at the Brown School, "but very few evaluate, and what they do evaluate has been inconsistent."

Open Streets movements, also known as Ciclovias, originated in South America as a way to get people to socialize, exercise and simply see life in their city from a different perspective. In some communities in the southern hemisphere, events are held weekly and attract millions of visitors. Where Open Streets are part of the culture, Hipp says, they are a vital part of a community's public health outlook.

"The Centers for Disease Control currently defines 150 minutes per week of physical activity as optimum for adult health," Hipp says. "So if you can attend an Open Street event say, every Saturday or Sunday, and for 2 1/2 hours walk, jog, ride your bike, dance, or participate in associated activities, that one event could have tremendous impact."

Hipp and researchers at the Brown School, with the support of Active Living Research, have been evaluating events in the St. Louis area over the past four years. They have developed a 46-page toolkit that is available online, with templates, that measure the success of different aspects of an Open Streets initiative or event. Such measures of success may include the number participating, the amount of physical activity occurring, the number who learn about a new bike lane, or money spent at surrounding businesses and restaurants.

"It really depends on what your city is interested in," Hipp says. "Are you interested in the local business and economic aspect? Do you just want to know who is there and how many? Are you interested in knowing if people are meeting the 150 minutes of physical activity? The social aspects? Are you getting different areas of the city involved?

"Cities and hosts of Open Streets are eager to measure success and evaluate their initiative," he says. "They see a successful initiative and they want to replicate it. To sell the idea to businesses, to city councils, to mayors to make the initiatives sustainable you've got to have some type of data and measure of success.

The toolkit is available through the Prevention Research Center (PRC), a joint initiative of the Brown School and researchers at Saint Louis University. Active Living Research also has the kit and templates and the Alliance for Walking and Biking website features it as well.

In the meantime, Hipp and his PRC colleagues are continuing to evaluate and research Open Streets.

The article "Taking Physical Activity to the Streets: The Popularity of Ciclovia and Open Streets Initiatives in the United States," was published in the January/February 2014 issue of American Journal of Health Promotion.

Written by Hipp along with Amy A. Eyler, PhD, assistant professor of public health at the Brown School; Susan G. Zieff, PhD, associate professor at San Francisco State University; and Michael A. Samuelson of the Alliance for Walking and Biking, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the article studies the growth of Open Streets movements from 2008-13.

Another article, "Open Streets Initiatives in the U.S.: Closed to Traffic, Open to Physical Activity" by Jill A. Kuhlberg, doctoral student at the Brown School; Hipp; Eyler and Genevieve Cheng, former research assistant at the Brown School, is forthcoming in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health.

In addition, Hipp and Lin Yang, PhD, with the help of a grant from Institute for Public Health's Friedman Center on Aging, will be traveling to Santiago, Chile, this year to study Ciclovias there as well as meeting with representatives from Bogota, Colombia, who started the movement.

"It's engaging work," Hipp says. "Most of us use these streets every day, whether in a personal vehicle or via public transportation. But Open Streets help people see the city at a different speed and from a different perspective.

"Communities and neighbors are getting their physical activity, but they are also meeting one another and discovering new retail in and around their neighborhoods," Hipp says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University in St. Louis. The original article was written by Leslie Gibson McCarthy. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. . Kuhlberg JA, Hipp JA, Eyler A, Chang G. Open Streets Initiatives in the U.S.: Closed to Traffic, Open to Physical Activity. J Phys Act Health, 2014

Cite This Page:

Washington University in St. Louis. "New toolkit developed to help communities evaluate open streets initiatives." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140203155050.htm>.
Washington University in St. Louis. (2014, February 3). New toolkit developed to help communities evaluate open streets initiatives. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140203155050.htm
Washington University in St. Louis. "New toolkit developed to help communities evaluate open streets initiatives." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140203155050.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Air Force: $4.2B Saved from Grounding A-10s

Air Force: $4.2B Saved from Grounding A-10s

AP (Apr. 23, 2014) Speaking about the future of the United States Air Force, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh says the choice to divest the A-10 fleet was logical and least impactful. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nuclear-Level Asteroids Might Be More Common Than We Realize

Nuclear-Level Asteroids Might Be More Common Than We Realize

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) The B612 Foundation says asteroids strike Earth much more often than previously thought, and are hoping to build an early warning system. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet

High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) The future of Aereo, an online service that provides over-the-air TV channels, hinges on a battle with broadcasters that goes before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins