Sidewalk Assessment Tool

The Sidewalk Assessment Tool was developed by the University of South Carolina Prevention Research Center in cooperation with coalition members from the Sumter County Active Lifestyles Committee in Sumter, South Carolina. The final version of the tool consists of five items used to assess each segment of a sidewalk - levelness, artificial items blocking the path, natural items blocking the path, cleanliness (litter), and surface condition. A sidewalk segment is defined as a sidewalk on one side of a street that was bordered on each end by a cross street or a dead end (a block). Each item (a sidewalk characteristic) on the tool was scored as 'Not at all maintained', 'Somewhat maintained', or 'Well maintained', with point values of 1, 2, and 3 respectively. For example, the item: "Rate the sidewalk with respect to items blocking the walkway" was scored 'Well maintained' if nothing blocked the walkway, 'Somewhat maintained' if no more than one thing partially (up to half the width of the sidewalk) blocked the walkway, and 'Not at all maintained' if one thing totally blocked the walkway OR if two or more things partially blocked the walkway. Guidelines for scoring are included in the tool.

An index score is calculated as the average score for each block (add the individual scores and divide by five). If multiple scorers are used, their scores can be averaged. The following cut points were used to categorize the index score: 1.00-1.69 = sidewalk not at all maintained, 1.70-2.39 = sidewalk somewhat maintained, and 2.40-3.00 = sidewalk well maintained. The link below will lead you to the final tool, in PDF format*.

Reliability. By computing a kappa statistic, the research team was able to assess inter-rater reliability of the results obtained from using the sidewalk assessment tool. This statistic allowed an examination of the consistency of sidewalk ratings among the three graduate students. The majority of kappa coefficients ranged from 0.41 to 0.54 for surface condition, cleanliness, levelness, and natural debris items, while the coefficient for the artificial blockage item (0.72) was the highest. The overall kappa coefficient for the three raters for all five items was 0.61. By following the guidelines that were established for this study, the raters were able to demonstrate an adequate inter-rater reliability. According to guidelines for interpretations of kappa values, the kappa range of 0.41 to 0.60 is considered moderate reliability and 0.61 to 0.80 is considered substantial reliability (Landis & Koch, 1977).

Sidewalk Assessment Tool (pdf)

Suggested citation:

Williams JE, Evans M, Kirtland KA, Cavnar MM, Sharpe PA, Neet MJ, & Cook A. Sidewalk Assessment Tool. Prevention Research Center, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina. Retrieved [date] from the World Wide Web.

Publication in Press:

Williams JE, Evans M, Kirtland kA, Cavnar MM, Sharpe PA, Neet MJ, & Cook A. (in press). Development and use of a tool for assessing sidewalk maintenance as an environmental support of physical activity. Health Promotion Practice.