Using data collected from Northern California in 2003, this study explored the causal relationship between neighborhood design and physical activity. The combination of three key features provided a stronger assessment of causality than previous studies to date: a focus on the connection between built environment characteristics of the neighborhood and physical activity within the neighborhood, statistical control of preferences for physical activity and neighborhood design characteristics supportive of physical activity, and quasi-longitudinal measures of neighborhood design characteristics and physical activity.
In this publication, we feature 10 representative transit-oriented developments that were recently built or are in the process of taking shape. We selected these to convey a sense of the diversity and appeal of this style of community-building enterprise, and to give an idea of why someone might choose to live or work in one of these locations. And, make no mistake, it’s the choosing that is most important. Notwithstanding all the substantial merits from a public policy point of view — transit- and land-use efficiency, air quality benefits, health advantages, energy savings and the like — TODs will succeed only when people freely choose to live in them. The urban and suburban dwellers who opt for TODs do so because the developments offer a practical, preferable, more environmentally friendly — and often more affordable — way to live and travel in our increasingly complex Bay Area.