Emphasizing increased economic development and decreased traffic congestion are good strategies for those seeking to advance walking and bicycling through transportation policy, according to new research from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.
Researchers surveyed 461 municipal officials in 83 urban areas from 8 states to describe their involvement in policies supportive of walking and bicycling. It was among the first studies to examine individual and job characteristics associated with those policies.
Officials who said addressing economic development or traffic congestion were important parts of their job, or who said those issues were important to residents they represented were more likely to be involved in transportation policy, as were officials who lived in the city or town in which they worked. Lack of collaboration was a barrier to transportation policy participation, the study found.
“Leverage points for local transportation advocacy may be economic development and reducing congestion,” wrote co-authors Marissa L. Zwald, of the Prevention Research Center and Dr. Amy Eyler, Assistant Professor and Assistant Dean for Public Health at the Brown School.
The study was published Oct. 14 in the Journal of Public Health Management Practice.