Graduation Year

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Department

Geography

Degree Granting Department

Geography

Major Professor

Steven Reader, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Joni Downs, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joni Downs, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Elizabeth Walton, Ph.D.

Keywords

comparative analysis, spatial regression, Tampa Bay area, walkability

Abstract

Walkability research has broadened in the past few years, being performed by researchers in different fields such as urban planning, public health, and transportation planning. Definitions of walkability and methods of operationalizing the concept vary widely. Since the results of studies that incorporate walkability may well have policy implications, it is important to consider the potential impacts of different definitions and methods of measurement.

This thesis investigates to what extent walkability indices may differ when either the composition of the indices is changed or when different quantitative methods of standardization are used to summarize their component measures. The association of these different walkability indices with socio-demographic variables is also investigated to determine the variability in such associations. The thesis also investigates to what extent changing the spatial extent of a study area, in this case the definition of an urbanized area, may also lead to differences in how walkability measures may be associated with socio-demographic variables.

In the analysis process, several methodological innovations were developed such as applying new detailed GIS analysis, developing two accessibility measures and two accessibility indices, creating a comprehensive walkability index, and applying the latest methods from spatial econometrics.

The results from investigating the research questions showed that even though walkability scores across the study area are different based on index compositions or index standardization methods, their association with socio-demographics is fairly consistent. When investigated for areas with different extents, the association between walkability and socio-demographics differed more.

Included in

Geography Commons

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