Mobility Lab Research Center
Arlington County Commuter Services 2011 WalkArlington Study
It’s obvious if you’re out on Arlington’s sidewalks, pathways, and trails, but now we have the numbers to support our observations: more people are walking more of the time in Arlington County.
Thanks to a recent Arlington County Commuter Services (ACCS) survey of Arlington walkers, we have quantifiable confirmation that people are getting out and walking in Arlington. Further, responses indicate that the outreach and promotional efforts of WalkArlington, the Arlington County initiative that promotes walking by emphasizing the health, environmental, community-building and commuting benefits of this active transportation mode, is influencing some of the increase in pedestrian activity.
The WalkArlington Study was conducted in July of 2011 and reflects input from 985 respondents. The Top 10 Highlights of the WalkArlington Study findings are captured here. The major findings are outlined in greater detail below. Click here for the full report.
Frequency of Walking
People are getting out and walking more often in Arlington County. Over half (54%) of walkers surveyed in the 2011 WalkArlington Study say they walk daily. They report walking for a variety of reasons, with running errands and exercise being the most common.
Exercise is a key walking motivator for all age groups. In addition to exercise, Millennials, those born after 1982, are more likely than others to see walking as a transportation option and say they choose to walk to save money or because they do not have any other transportation option available. More about walking and health.
Commuting on Foot
Arlington County is home to miles of sidewalks, paths, and trails, making walking the clear choice for many commuters. In fact, 56% of survey respondents report they walk for either all or a part of their commute to work. On average, those who walk for their entire commute walk only a short distance (.4 miles) further than those who walk for just a portion of their commute (1.5 miles vs. 1.1 miles). Thanks to these two-footed commuters, there are fewer four-wheeled vehicles on the road during rush hour in Arlington.
Click here to see WalkArlington Works, a compendium of resources developed by WalkArlington to promote commuting on foot and establishing “walking workplaces”
Only a small portion of walkers are concerned about crime, and concerns about crime are lower during the day than at night. The biggest safety concern for survey respondents is sharing the way with vehicles. When asked about safety challenges, they report their biggest challenges are with aggressive or inattentive drivers, as well as with crossing the street safely. Click here for a look at some of WalkArlington’s safety resources.
Impact of WalkArlington
According to the study, WalkArlington is successfully increasing the number of people choosing to walk and the number of walking trips being made in the County.
Twenty-nine percent of respondents who used WalkArlington resources and services report increasing their walking trips since being introduced to WalkArlington.
Additionally, 81% of those who have used WalkArlington are satisfied with the services they provide and two-thirds say they would recommend WalkArlington to someone else.
WalkArlington’s Walkabouts, a series of self-guided walking tours of Arlington neighborhoods, remain popular with scores of walkers attending guided Walkabout events. Sixty-eight percent of respondents say they would be interested in attending a walking event in the future.
While overall, the results suggest that WalkArlington is conducting effective outreach, the initiative needs to expand outreach and increase awareness among younger groups.
Forty-four percent of respondents say they are aware of WalkArlington, and 29% of those indicate they are familiar with what the organization does.
Additionally, there is potential to increase usage of WalkArlington resources and services, because a quarter of respondents who do not currently use their services or resources say they are likely to do so in the future.
About the WalkArlington Study
The ACCS 2011 WalkArlington Study was intended to gauge awareness of and satisfaction with the WalkArlington program, understand the impact of the program on walking behavior, and investigate the potential for new services. The study also allows for some comparisons to be made to a similar study conducted in 2008.
Recognizing the need to reach a wide variety of people who walk in Arlington County, ACCS created a two-pronged survey tool. The approach combined an online survey questionnaire** with use of trail intercepts that directed people to the online survey. Additionally, emails were sent to those on various WalkArlington subscriber lists, and online banner advertisements promoting the survey were placed on several Arlington County websites. A total of 985 people completed the survey.
The 2011 WalkArlington Study was conducted by the Southeastern Institute of Research.
For more on Arlington County Commuter Services and transportation demand management research, visit The Mobility Lab.