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Publication Detail
Are perceptions of traffic volume and speed within the neighbourhood associated with levels of local social contact?
  • Publication Type:
    Conference presentation
  • Authors:
    Stockton JC, Scholes S, Mindell JS
  • Date:
  • Name of Conference:
    Universities' Transport Study Group 48th Annual Conference Proceedings, 2016
  • Conference place:
    Bristol, UK
  • Conference start date:
  • Conference finish date:
Objective: To examine the relationship between perceptions of traffic speed and volume, an indicator of community severance, on social contact in inner London neighbourhoods. Background: Community severance is the “barrier effect” of traffic and transport infrastructure wherein individuals, particularly pedestrians, are spatially severed from nearby goods, services and people. The increasing awareness of the possible negative health consequences of community severance renders its valid and reliable measurement a priority. Method: A questionnaire designed to measure community severance was administered to residents of two contrasting inner London neighbourhoods: Woodberry Down (N=101), with a predominance of social housing, and Finchley Road (N=209), characterised by standalone apartments. Participants provided demographic and socioeconomic information, and self-reported their local social contact in terms of number of households where they knew someone on their own and the other side of the road and as frequency of contact with neighbours. They also rated volume and speed of traffic on local roads. Bivariate associations between indicators of social contact and ratings of traffic were examined. Results: Counterintuitively, participants who rated the volume of traffic as heavier, or the speed as faster, on their own or on the busiest local road, were significantly more likely to meet or see neighbours in person at least three times a week. Various demographic and socioeconomic factors, and the case study area from which participants were drawn, were significantly associated both with traffic ratings and the likelihood of social contact. Conclusions: Compositional as well as contextual factors should be included in modelling associations between perceived traffic volume and speed, and social contact.
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