The choice to walk, a parcel & network based analysis of pedestrian access and income in Austin, TX
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Walkability is desirable for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, walkability is desirable because it is the only available or affordable transportation modal choice. Urban form and transportation infrastructure can be hostile to pedestrians because cars are prioritized first, and pedestrians often face unsafe situations and a lack of pedestrian facilities. This analysis explores a spatial distribution of pedestrian access to opportunities in Austin, TX, and examines the locations of households of different income levels relative to areas of high pedestrian access to opportunities. To achieve results that are equally precise across the study area, this analysis employs GIS analysis and U.S. Census 2000 data, and analyzes the study area using a ½ square-mile grid system. High pedestrian access areas are defined as locations where residential parcels have pedestrian network access to multiple types of opportunities and above average number of opportunities. This analysis finds that low income households are more associated with high pedestrian access areas in Austin, TX, than moderate and high income households. If lower income households are consistently shown to rely more on pedestrian infrastructure than moderate or high income households, it may be important to allocate funding to high pedestrian access areas with low income populations in such a way that is socially equitable, and that will result in more use of the pedestrian facilities.