More people are walking more of the time for more reasons in Arlington County. It’s obvious if you’re out on Arlington’s sidewalks, pathways, and trails. But thanks to a recent Arlington County Commuter Services (ACCS) survey of Arlington walkers, we now have quantifiable confirmation.
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 the increase in pedestrian activity.
The 2011 ACCS WalkArlington Study conducted by Southeastern Institute of Research reflects input from 985 respondents. Download the Top 10 Highlights of the study: 2011 WalkArlington Key Highlights Sheet
Frequency of Walking
Over half (54%) of walkers surveyed in a recent study sponsored by Arlington County Commuter Services (ACCS) and WalkArlington say they walk daily. They report walking for a variety of reasons, with running errands and exercise being the most common reasons why people choose to walk.
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. They are more likely to say they choose to walk to save money or because they do not have any other transportation option available.
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 (0.4 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.
Only a small portion of walkers are concerned about crime, and as would be anticipated, concerns about crime are lower during the day than at night. The biggest safety concern for walkers 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.
Impact of WalkArlington
According to the study, WalkArlington, an initiative of Arlington County to increase the number of trips where people choose to walk, is successfully increasing the number of people and the number of walking trips being made in the county. 29% of respondents who used WalkArlington services report increasing their walking trips since beginning to use the service. 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.
While overall, the results suggest that WalkArlington is conducting effective outreach, the initiative needs to expand outreach and increase awareness among younger groups. 44% 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. 68% of respondents say they would be interested in attending a walking event in the future.
About the study
The goal of the ACCS 2011 WalkArlington Study was gauge awareness and satisfaction with the program, understand the impact of the program on walking behavior and investigate the potential for new services. Additionally, this study allows for some comparisons to be made to a similar study conducted in 2008.
It was important to reach a wide variety of people who walk in Arlington County, so to ensure the opinions of users were captured a two-pronged approach was used to drive people to an online survey. During July of 2011, walkers using multi-use trails in the county were approached and asked if they would take a brief survey. After completing this initial survey, they were asked to participate in the online survey. Additionally, emails were sent to those on the WalkArlington mailing list and online banner advertisements promoting the survey were placed on several Arlington County websites. A total of 985 people completed the survey.
Click through the slides below for more key findings of this study.
WalkArlington: The People Have Spoken and the People Are Walking
ARLNow.com: Walking Survey Results Released
DOCUMENTS AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD
Full Presentation (PDF): ACCS 2011 WalkArlington 10 17 11
Technical Summary (PDF): Tech Summary – 2011 WalkArlington Study
Survey Questionnaire (PDF): ACCS WalkArlington Survey Questionnaire FINAL
Data Tables (PDF): 2011 WalkArlington Data TablesContact the ACCS Research Team for more information.