Region Forward Blog

The Morning Measure: Well-being and walkability

Mar 22, 2011


Yesterday we wrote that income inequality in metro Washington is too high. Today we’re glad to say that there’s some happier news to report. Gallup recently released findings on “wellbeing” showing that among regions with a population of more than one million Washington area residents have the highest wellbeing. The index takes into account residents’ life evaluation emotional and physical health and work environment among other factors.

Following up on another recent post we made – on the impact of rising gas prices and traffic congestion – new research from CEOs for Cities a coalition working to improve U.S. cities points out that some cities are better suited than others to easily adapt to gas price increases. Urban design and land use policies that promote walkability and prioritize connections to a reliable expansive transit system are what allow for this adaptability enjoyed by some cities.

Edward McMahon from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) commented on the study to USA Today using two parts of Montgomery County as an example: “Bethesda a mixed-use community with transit and Germantown a traditional car-oriented suburb. ‘We found that in Bethesda about 75% of trips during the day were in fact on city transit’ he says. ‘In Germantown 90% of all trips were by car.’”

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