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Associations between walkability and pedestrian related injuries is modified by sociodemographic characteristics

  • Shanley Chong
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author.
    Affiliations
    Population Health Intelligence, Healthy People & Places Unit Population Health, South Western Sydney Local Health District, New South Wales, Australia

    South Western Sydney Clinical School, University of New South Wales, New South Wales, Australia
    Search for articles by this author
  • Soumya Mazumdar
    Affiliations
    Population Health Intelligence, Healthy People & Places Unit Population Health, South Western Sydney Local Health District, New South Wales, Australia

    South Western Sydney Clinical School, University of New South Wales, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Bin Jalaludin
    Affiliations
    Population Health Intelligence, Healthy People & Places Unit Population Health, South Western Sydney Local Health District, New South Wales, Australia

    Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, University of New South Wales, Liverpool, NSW 2170, Australia
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  • Julie Hatfield
    Affiliations
    School of Aviation Faculty of Science, University of New South Wales, Australia
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Published:September 17, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.injury.2022.09.014

      Abstract

      Background

      Walkability scores have been developed to measure how well the characteristics of the physical environment support walking. However, because pedestrian safety is not taken into account, areas that have higher Walk Scores could be associated with more walking and also more pedestrian-related injury. We aimed to explore the association between Walk Score and pedestrian-related injury in Sydney.

      Method

      Pedestrian-related injuries from 2010 to 2018 in Sydney were identified in the New South Wales Combined Admitted Patient Epidemiology Data. Walk Score was used to measure area-level walkability in Sydney statistical division. Regression models were used to examine the association between Walk Score, pedestrian-related injury, length of hospital stay (LOS) and injury severity.

      Result

      Among people aged ≤64 years, there was no significant association between walkability score and pedestrian-related injury. Among people aged ≥ 65 years, walkability score was significantly positively associated with pedestrian-related injury, which peaked at Somewhat Walkable. For most disadvantaged areas, the risk of pedestrian-related injury was highest for areas that were classified as Somewhat Walkable. For moderately disadvantaged areas, the risk of pedestrian-related injury was highest at Very Walkable to Walker's Paradise areas. For the least disadvantaged areas, there was no significant association between walkability score and pedestrian-related injury. For LOS among people aged ≥ 65 years or in the most disadvantaged areas, it peaked at Somewhat Walkable areas. For injury severity, the risk of serious pedestrian-related injury was highest at Very Walkable to Walker's Paradise areas among people aged 16–64 years.

      Conclusion

      For the majority of the population, built environment characteristics that are considered to make walking attractive also make it safer, offsetting any exposure-related increase injury risk. However, this is not the case for people aged ≥ 19 years, and those living in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas. Incorporating measures of pedestrian safety in walkability scores may create an impetus to ensure that the built environment is designed to support the safety of pedestrians from these groups.
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