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Physical Activity and Community Design Networking Call
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When: Thursday, February 23, 2017
2:00-3:00 PM EST
Where: United States

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Call-In Number: 866-581-9669, Participant Code: 31358597
Link to presentations:

Sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP)
Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO)


Drawing the Impossible Map: One Approach to Create a Sidewalk Inventory in Utah
Using the Georgia Tech Sidewalk Quality and Safety Assessment System to Inventory and Manage Community Sidewalk Assets

Presentation Speakers:

Brett McIff, PhD, MSPH, PAPHS
Physical Activity Coordinator
Utah Department of Health

Randall Guensler, PhD, MS
Civil Engineering Professor
Transportation Systems Engineering
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology

Jack Coebe, PLA
MS CEE Candidate
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology

Presentation Description:

Working with partners to develop a sidewalk inventory was much more complicated than originally conceived. Rather than "flipping a switch," identifying an overall sidewalk network required multiple approaches to collect data into a regional map, as well as building relationships with key people to make the map mean something to all users. Both challenges and approaches to develop this network map will be discussed, as well as where this map leads the Utah Department of Health and its partners in future projects.

An accessible pedestrian environment, characterized by well-maintained sidewalks and curb ramps, helps ensure the safety and comfort of pedestrians of all abilities. However, prioritizing annual sidewalk repairs in a constrained budget is especially difficult for communities that have a significant repair backlog. The absence of comprehensive and transparent sidewalk asset management plans also make sidewalk prioritization difficult for local agencies. Over the last several years, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have been developing the Sidewalk Quality and Safety Assessment System (SQSA) that communities can use to inventory, assess, prioritize, and manage sidewalk improvements. Georgia Tech researchers will present on the SQSA and how the tools that comprise this system have helped communities strategically manage and improve their sidewalk assets. The presentation will begin with a brief overview of the requirements in the Americans with Disabilities Act that pertain to sidewalks. Next it will showcase the capabilities of the SQSA tools:
• Sidewalk Scout: A crowdsourcing smartphone app used by agencies and the public to report sidewalk problems. The app allows users to submit a picture and a detailed description of a sidewalk problem and automatically geotags the location of the report.
• Sidewalk Sentry: A tablet application used to inventory sidewalks and assess sidewalk quality. A smart tablet attached to a basic wheelchair collects and geocodes sidewalk attribute and quality data.
• The Sidewalk Quality Index: A prioritization and programming tool. An online survey gathers input from the community on their preferences for sidewalk investment, which is utilized as part of a locally-responsive sidewalk rating and ranking system.
Finally, the presentation will provide an example of how the SQSA has been successfully utilized for sidewalk asset management and planning in East Point, GA.


Brett McIff, PhD, MSPH, PAPHS, has worked in physical activity promotion for almost 20 years in a variety of fields from personal training to policy development. He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Utah in Exercise and Sport Science. His graduate work continued with a Master of Science in Public Health and a Ph.D. in Public Health at Walden University. Brett works with committees at the national, state, and local levels to promote environments that encourage regular physical activity. He is currently the Physical Activity Coordinator at the Utah Department of Health.

Dr. Randall Guensler’s research focuses on sidewalk infrastructure, vehicle and person activity monitoring, vehicle operating conditions, system performance monitoring, data communications and visualization, travel behavior, demand management, emissions modeling, and environmental impact assessment. Since 1994, Guensler has directed more than $20 million in university research and managed the interdisciplinary DRIVE lab research team. Dr. Guensler and his research team created the Sidewalk Sentry™ System in 2012-2014 and have collected data for more than 1,500 miles of sidewalks to date. Dr. Guensler’s directed the Commute Atlanta $2.3 million joint value pricing initiative sponsored by the FHWA and Georgia DOT, which included the collection and analysis of second-by-second vehicle speed, position, and engine operating data from 470 vehicles in representative Atlanta households. The researchers monitored more than 1.8 million vehicle trips on a second-by-second basis and mapped data to roadway infrastructure and prevailing traffic conditions Development of tools for data management, data analysis, and privacy protection became major research activities. The team also monitored the activity of 500 school buses for one year. The team manages a State DOT traffic operations data repository, which hosts all of the Atlanta metropolitan area traffic operations (speed and acceleration data) from video detection systems at 20-second resolution. The system monitors more than ten million traffic readings per day. Dr. Guensler served as Chairman of the Transportation Research Board committee on Transportation and Air Quality from 1997 to 2002. Over the past twenty years, he has served on various EPA and National Academy of Sciences committees and panels charged with the assessment of vehicle emissions impacts and identification of research needs. He has taught the Introduction to Transportation Planning and Environmental Impact Assessment courses at Georgia Tech since 1994.

Jack Cebe, PLA is a masters candidate and graduate research assistant in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech. Prior to attending Georgia Tech, Jack worked for over four years with Alta Planning + Design on walking and bicycling transportation planning and engineering projects. Jack has managed or assisted with a variety of project types across North America including Complete Streets and ADA design, large-scale regional bicycle and pedestrian master plans, city-wide and community bicycle and pedestrian plans, and feasibility studies. Jack is also a registered Landscape Architect.


Who are the calls for? This call series is intended for state and local health departments and partners who are actively supporting physical activity strategies in community design.

What is the purpose? The purpose of this networking forum is to facilitate information sharing among public health practitioners who are supporting physical activity strategies in community design.

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