Health

Walkability and Transit Mean Independence in Golden Years

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Transit-accessible Dupont CircleMost adults want to age in place; that is, grow older without the need to move from their home or community. As driving becomes a challenge, though, seniors can feel dependent upon others, or isolated and cut off from their friends or public services. Communities that have strong public transit systems and walkable amenities are increasingly attractive to seniors for the independence they instill. These places — like Washington D.C.’s Dupont Circle, shown above — are also associated with high housing costs, however, illuminating the pressing need in the U.S. for more transit, and more connected communities, as the Boomer generation ages.

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Arlington County TOD Linked to Health, Sprawl Study Says

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[By Paul Goddin for Mobility Lab, published on April 29, 2014]

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We have been taught to hate sprawl in America, yet, in the past 10 years, our country has become, on average, slightly more sprawling than in the decade prior.

That was one finding of Smart Growth America’s Measuring Sprawl 2014 report, released earlier this month. The study, conducted by University of Utah city planning professor Reid Ewing and graduate research assistant Shima Hamidi, found that with patterns of development varying widely in the U.S., the cities that favor “smart growth” principles fare better on several social and economic measurements than do those built in a way typified by the term “sprawl.”

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Seven Reasons to Let Your Child Walk or Bike to School

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[By Paul Goddin for Mobility Lab, published on April 15, 2014]

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May 7 is Walk and Bike to School Day 2014 in Arlington, Virginia (and Bike to School Day nationally), but once a year isn’t the only time students can participate in these activities.

Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a national program designed to encourage walking and biking to school on a more regular basis, by providing public schools with grants for public-improvement projects, and by guiding the creation of “walking school buses” and “bike trains,” activities designed to encourage students in active forms of transportation.

Here are seven reasons you should consider letting your child bike or walk to school regularly.

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Connecting Data to Our Health: Kaiser’s Code-A-Thon

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[By Paul Goddin for Mobility Lab, published on June 11, 2013]

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Mobility Lab’s Director Tom Fairchild served as a guest judge in Kaiser Permanente’s recent Code-a-Thon, a competition in which software developers from across the country traveled to the company’s state-of-the-art Center for Total Health in Washington D.C.

The developers worked on different apps envisioned under Kaiser Permanente’s just-launched application programming interface (API) program called Interchange. The apps were focused on connecting healthcare with lifestyle choices. Fairchild talked to the participants about Mobility Lab’s ongoing research on the correlation between transportation-related lifestyle choices and better health.

Half of the code-a-thon participants focused on using open location-based data to allow for mapping one’s health by finding, for example, the closest farmer’s market or nearby restaurants with heart-healthy menu options.

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