Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 92, Issue 5, pp 923–939 | Cite as

Assessing Walking and Cycling Environments in the Streets of Madrid: Comparing On-Field and Virtual Audits

  • Pedro Gullón
  • Hannah M. Badland
  • Silvia Alfayate
  • Usama Bilal
  • Francisco Escobar
  • Alba Cebrecos
  • Julia Diez
  • Manuel Franco
Article

Abstract

Audit tools are useful for exploring the urban environment and its association with physical activity. Virtual auditing options are becoming increasingly available potentially reducing the resources needed to conduct these assessments. Only a few studies have explored the use of virtual audit tools. Our objective is to test if the Madrid Systematic Pedestrian and Cycling Environment Scan (M-SPACES) discriminates between areas with different urban forms and to validate virtual street auditing using M-SPACES. Three areas (N = 500 street segments) were selected for variation in population density. M-SPACES was used to audit street segments physically and virtually (Google Street View) by two researchers in 2013–2014. For both physical and virtual audits, all analyzed features score significantly different by area (p < 0.05). Most of the features showed substantial (ICC = 0.6–0.8) or almost perfect (ICC ≥ 0.8) agreement between virtual and physical audits, especially neighborhood permeability walking infrastructure, traffic safety, streetscape aesthetics, and destinations. Intra-rater agreement was generally acceptable (ICC > 0.6). Inter-rater agreement was generally poor (ICC < 0.4). Virtual auditing provides a valid and feasible way of measuring residential urban environments. Comprehensive auditor training may be needed to guarantee good inter-rater agreement.

Keywords

Physical activity Validation studies Urban environment Omnidirectional image Virtual image 

Abbreviations

CVD

Cardiovascular diseases

GSV

Google Street View

SPACES

Systematic Pedestrian and Cycling Environmental Scan

NZ-SPACES

New Zealand Systematic Pedestrian and Cycling Environmental Scan

M-SPACES

Madrid Systematic Pedestrian and Cycling Environmental Scan

HHH

Heart Healthy Hoods

ICC

Intraclass correlation coefficient

Supplementary material

11524_2015_9982_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (182 kb)
ESM 1(PDF 182 KB)

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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pedro Gullón
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hannah M. Badland
    • 3
  • Silvia Alfayate
    • 1
  • Usama Bilal
    • 1
    • 4
  • Francisco Escobar
    • 1
    • 5
  • Alba Cebrecos
    • 1
  • Julia Diez
    • 1
  • Manuel Franco
    • 1
    • 4
    • 6
  1. 1.Social and Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Group, School of MedicineUniversity of AlcaláAlcalá de HenaresSpain
  2. 2.Escuela Nacional de SanidadInstituto de Salud Carlos IIIMadridSpain
  3. 3.Melbourne School of Population and Global HealthThe University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Department of EpidemiologyJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  5. 5.Department of Geology, Geography and EnvironmentUniversity of AlcaláAlcalá de HenaresSpain
  6. 6.Social and Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Group, School of MedicineUniversity of AlcaláAlcalá de HenaresSpain

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