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167162-1 Report Abstract

Transportation Infrastructure and Quality of Life for Disadvantage Populations: A Pilot Study of El Cenizo Colonia in Texas

Cecilia Giusti, Chanam Lee, Dominique Lord and Meghan Wieters, Texas A&M University, September 2008, 126 pp. (167162-1)

This research is a pilot study aimed to identify environmental characteristics in colonias that are related to infrastructure and safety, access to goods and services, and quality of life. A secondary objective consisted of evaluating a variety of tools that could be used to identify and assess these environmental characteristics. El Cenizo in Webb County, Texas, was selected as our study colonia after preliminary visits and investigations. A multi-disciplinary approach framed this study, considering the transportation, urban design and planning, public health, and socioeconomic dimensions as potential determinants of the residents’ mobility behaviors, environmental perception, and quality of life. Three instruments were developed to collect data for this research: 1) a survey, 2) an activity diary or travel diary, and 3) environmental audit instruments. Additionally, this study also included a small sub-group study testing the usability of wearable Global Positioning Systems (GPS) units as a research tool to capture spatial-behavioral data, combined with travel diary. First, the study has generated valuable data on transportation and mobility behaviors where almost no-information is available. Second, the multidisciplinary approach has allowed a comprehensive approach towards a better understanding of the current needs of colonias, especially those related to pedestrians. Some of them could be easily addressed with direct short-term interventions while other require a more long-term plans. Third, the assessment of new research tools offers useful insights for future research in the context of similar low-income marginalized communities.

Keywords: Colonia, Disadvantage Population, Health, Mobility, Walkability, Transportation, Built Environment, Safety, Transportation Infrastructure, Quality of Life, Economic Development, Latino/Hispanic, Minorities

ENTIRE REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 2.7 MB)