A longitudinal study examining changes in street connectivity, land use, and density of dwellings and walking for transport in Brisbane, Australia

Rebecca Bentley, Tony Blakely, Anne Kavanagh, Zoe Aitken, Tania King, Paul McElwee, Billie Giles-Corti, Gavin Turrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Societies face the challenge of keeping people active as they age. Walkable neighborhoods have been associated with physical activity, but more rigorous analytical approaches are needed. OBJECTIVES: We used longitudinal data from adult residents of Brisbane, Australia (40 - 65 years of age at baseline) to estimate effects of changes in neighborhood characteristics over a 6-y period on the likelihood of walking for transport. METHODS: Analyses included 2,789 - 9,747 How Areas Influence Health and Activity (HABITAT) cohort participants from 200 neighborhoods at baseline (2007) who completed up to three follow-up questionnaires (through 2013). Principal components analysis was used to derive a proxy measure of walkability preference. Environmental predictors were changes in street connectivity, residential density, and land use mix within a onekilometer network buffer. Associations with any walking and minutes of walking were estimated using logistic and linear regression, including random effects models adjusted for time-varying confounders and a measure of walkability preference, and fixed effects models of changes in individuals to eliminate confounding by time-invariant characteristics. RESULTS: Any walking for transport (vs. none) was increased in association with an increase in street connectivity (+ 10 intersections, fixed effects OR = 1: 19; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.07, 1.32), residential density (+ 5 dwellings/hectare, OR = 1: 10; 95% CI: 1.05, 1.15), and land-use mix (10% increase, OR = 1: 12; 95% CI: 1.00, 1.26). Associations with minutes of walking were positive based on random effects models, but null for fixed effects models. The association between land-use mix and any walking appeared to be limited to participants in the highest tertile of increased street connectivity (fixed effects OR = 1: 17; 95% CI: 0.99, 1.35 for a 1-unit increase in land-use mix; interaction p-value = 0: 05). CONCLUSIONS: Increases in street connectivity, residential density, and land-use heterogeneity were associated with walking for transport among middle-age residents of Brisbane, Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes


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