The Walkability Project

Specific aims

  1. To determine the most important elements of the environment to promote walkability for people with arthritis
  2. To develop an arthritis-specific walkability survey that can be used in conjunction with generic walkability assessments.


“Walkability” is a term that refers to how the environment or neighborhood contributes to promoting walking and physical activity behaviors. Numerous public health efforts aimed at promoting physical activity include the “walkability” of community areas as a factor and many walkability scales are currently available. Currently, however, no walkability assessments specifically focus on people with arthritis.


Subcontract Principal Investigator: Dr. Julie Keysor

The Walkability Project is a response to the missing arthritis-specific perspective among current walkability assessments. The study is a 2-phase, collaborative project between ENACT and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, with funding from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Arthritis Foundation.

In 2013, ENACT undertook Phase I of the project, “the Walkability Audit”, which consisted of a critical review of evidence-based environmental features needed in community walking assessments. The review identified a number of features of the environment that seem to have an association with walking and physical activity behaviors. Importantly, the features identified in the studies among people with arthritis are not present on many of the existing community walkability assessments. The empirical evidence, however, supporting specific factors is limited and definitive findings are difficult to conclude from the existing literature.

The goal of Phase II is to take the lessons learned in Phase I and develop a brief walkability assessment to support walking and physical activity behaviors among people with arthritis, based on interviews with consumers and practitioners. This new tool will be brief, identifying key environmental features specifically supporting walking and physical activity behaviors for people with arthritis. The tool will likely be used in conjunction with other walkability assessments supporting walking and physical activity behaviors among general adult populations.