NCBW Newsroom - The Research Beat
-> According to a Nov.14th Transportation Research Board blurb, "The Florida Department of Transportation has released a report that assesses younger, middle-aged, and older drivers' ability to quickly perceive the presence of marked and unmarked crosswalks and pedestrians within these crosswalks. (Aging Road User Studies of Intersection Safety: http://bit.ly/1wWhxXc)"
[Ed. note: The study revealed that drivers were more aware of the special emphasis crosswalks, but they were no better at noticing pedestrians in those same crosswalks. Also, as we age it takes us longer to react: older drivers needed an extra 0.8 seconds to perceive and respond to the yellow signal.]
-> According to a Nov.7th University of Kansas release, "New study results from the University of Kansas to be presented this weekend at the Gerontological Society of America's annual meeting in Washington, D.C.,... [show] neighborhoods that motivate walking can stave off cognitive decline in older adults...
"[Amber Watts, assistant professor of clinical psychology] judged walkability using geographic information systems -- essentially maps that measure and analyze spatial data. 'GIS data can tell us about roads, sidewalks, elevation, terrain, distances between locations and a variety of other pieces of information,' Watts said. 'We then use a process called Space Syntax to measure these features, including the number of intersections, distances between places or connections between a person's home and other possible destinations they might walk to. We're also interested in how complicated a route is to get from one place to another...
"Watts said easy-to-walk communities resulted in better outcomes both for physical health -- such as lower body mass and blood pressure -- and cognition (such as better memory) in the 25 people with mild Alzheimer's disease and 39 older adults without cognitive impairment she tracked...The KU researcher and her colleagues used the space syntax data to estimate a 'walkability score' for subjects' home addresses. Then they estimated the relationship between people's neighborhood scores and their performance on cognitive tests over two years, factoring in issues like age, gender, education and wealth, that might influence people's cognitive scores independently of neighborhood characteristics..."
-> According to a Nov.17th CityLab article, "In China's rapidly changing urban landscape, the Chinese middle class may be bearing the greatest burden when it comes to the connection between the way their cities are being built and rates of obesity, a new study suggests.
"A paper recently published in the journal Preventive Medicine (Walking, Obesity and Urban Design in Chinese Neighborhoods: http://bit.ly/1xmYmcW) examines the connections between obesity, income, and the built environment in two of China's major cities, Shanghai and Hangzhou. The research team is headed up by Mariela Alfonzo, an assistant research professor at the NYU School of Engineering and a Fulbright scholar who has spent years developing measures of walkability in the United States and is now expanding that work to China.
"Alfonzo and her colleagues found that, as in other countries, there is a link between neighborhood design—their walkability—and levels of physical activity among residents. They also found, however, that the relationship between income, obesity, and physical activity is not a linear one in China. There, the poorest and the most affluent were both less likely to be obese than the middle class..."
-> According to a Nov.13th Transportation Research Board blurb, "The September–October 2014 edition of the TR News features an article that provides advice to first-time Annual Meeting attendees on navigating the meeting (Navigating Your First TRB Annual Meeting: http://bit.ly/1ymxfgv). The 2015 TRB 94th Annual Meeting, January 11-15, 2015, in Washington, D.C., covers all transportation modes, with more than 5,000 presentations in more than 750 sessions. The Annual Meeting, which draws some 12,000+ attendees from throughout the United States and from 70 countries, is the single largest gathering of transportation practitioners and researchers in the world..."
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