Walkability Assessment of the Trainsong Neighborhood in Eugene, Oregon
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Since the popularity of the automobile skyrocketed in the early 20th Century, most urban areas have been designed around their usage at the expense of pedestrians and bicyclists. However, since the early 1990’s, the New Urbanist movement within urban planning has pushed back against this trend and promoted neighborhood designs that create urban environments that allow accessing common daily destinations without the need for driving an automobile. Modern research in the health and planning fields has shown that there are significant health and societal benefits to neighborhoods where walking behavior is encouraged. But increasing the walkability in current neighborhoods requires retroactive changes to take place in the built environment. City governments that wish to increase the walkability of their neighborhoods often find that there is no easy way to locate, identify, and prioritize what changes to make. This study attempts to create a GIS-based assessment tool that city governments can use in targeted neighborhoods to identify the barriers to and opportunities for encouraging walking behavior. This tool can then be used to create recommendations for changes that can be made to achieve the city’s walkability goals. The Trainsong Neighborhood of Eugene was used as a case study to test this assessment tool’s viability in combination with a walking tour of the neighborhood. The results show that there are still areas of improvement to be made in modeling walkable neighborhoods and present a list of recommendations for the City of Eugene to improve the walkability of the Trainsong Neighborhood.