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Snow and Rain Modify Neighbourhood Walkability for Older Adults


Clarke, Philippa J.; Hirsch, Jana A.; Melendez, Robert; Winters, Meghan; Sims-Gould, Joanie; Ashe, Maureen C.; Furst, Sarah; & McKay, Heather A. (2017). Snow and Rain Modify Neighbourhood Walkability for Older Adults. Canadian Journal on Aging, 36(2), 159-169. PMCID: PMC5423849


The literature has documented a positive relationship between walkable built environments and outdoor mobility in older adults. Yet, surprisingly absent is any consideration of how weather conditions modify the impact of neighborhood walkability. Using archived weather data linked to survey data collected from a sample of older adults in Vancouver, Canada, we found that car dependent neighborhoods (longer block lengths, fewer intersections, greater distance to amenities) became inaccessible in snow. Even older adults who lived in very walkable neighborhoods walked to 25 percent fewer destinations in snow. It is critical to consider the impact of weather in the relationship between neighborhood walkability and older adult mobility.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Canadian Journal on Aging


Clarke, Philippa J.
Hirsch, Jana A.
Melendez, Robert
Winters, Meghan
Sims-Gould, Joanie
Ashe, Maureen C.
Furst, Sarah
McKay, Heather A.