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Open AccessArticle

Older People’s Perceptions of Pedestrian Friendliness and Traffic Safety: An Experiment Using Computer-Simulated Walking Environments

Exercise and Health Science, Stuttgart Research Initiative Human Factors in Ageing, Technology, and Environment, University of Stuttgart, Nobelstr. 15, Stuttgart 70569, Germany
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Academic Editors: Harry Timmermans, Astrid Kemperman and Pauline van den Berg
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 10066-10078; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120810066
Received: 18 June 2015 / Revised: 14 August 2015 / Accepted: 17 August 2015 / Published: 21 August 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of the Built Environment on Public Health)
Traffic safety and pedestrian friendliness are considered to be important conditions for older people’s motivation to walk through their environment. This study uses an experimental study design with computer-simulated living environments to investigate the effect of micro-scale environmental factors (parking spaces and green verges with trees) on older people’s perceptions of both motivational antecedents (dependent variables). Seventy-four consecutively recruited older people were randomly assigned watching one of two scenarios (independent variable) on a computer screen. The scenarios simulated a stroll on a sidewalk, as it is ‘typical’ for a German city. In version ‘A,’ the subjects take a fictive walk on a sidewalk where a number of cars are parked partially on it. In version ‘B’, cars are in parking spaces separated from the sidewalk by grass verges and trees. Subjects assessed their impressions of both dependent variables. A multivariate analysis of covariance showed that subjects’ ratings on perceived traffic safety and pedestrian friendliness were higher for Version ‘B’ compared to version ‘A’. Cohen’s d indicates medium (d = 0.73) and large (d = 1.23) effect sizes for traffic safety and pedestrian friendliness, respectively. The study suggests that elements of the built environment might affect motivational antecedents of older people’s walking behavior. View Full-Text
Keywords: physical activity; walking for recreation; built environment; older people; computer-simulated experiment physical activity; walking for recreation; built environment; older people; computer-simulated experiment
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Kahlert, D.; Schlicht, W. Older People’s Perceptions of Pedestrian Friendliness and Traffic Safety: An Experiment Using Computer-Simulated Walking Environments. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 10066-10078.

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