Exploring a Public Health Perspective on Pedestrian Planning

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A pedestrian plan is a public document that explains a community’s vision and goals for future pedestrian activity. This study explored whether involvement by public health professionals in the development of pedestrian plans was associated with certain characteristics of the plan (vision, goals, identified programs, and evaluation). This study identified, collected, and analyzed content of all pedestrian plans in North Carolina through 2008. Among the 46 plans, 39% reported involvement by public health professionals in their development. Overall, 72% of pedestrian plans included a vision statement; health was mentioned four times and quality of life was mentioned five times. Slightly more than half (52%) of the plans included goals to improve public health. Plans that involved public health professionals more often included the type of physical activity, safety, or education program. Only 22% of all pedestrian plans included a proposal to evaluate their implementation. Plans that included public health professionals were less likely to include an evaluation proposal (11%) compared with those that did not involve public health professionals (21%). Public health professionals are encouraged to seek involvement in the pedestrian planning process, particularly in the areas of health program development, implementation, and evaluation.

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