Mapping Activities in Recreational Trail With Spatial Video: A Case Study in Kent State University

Mapping Activities in Recreational Trail With Spatial Video: A Case Study in Kent State University

Xin Hong (Kent State University, Kent, USA) and Jay Lee (Kent State University, Kent, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/IJAGR.2019100101

Abstract

Understanding the usage patterns of a trail in a university environment is crucial for assessing the functionality of the trail and evaluating its impact to health in college students. This article presents a novel approach to map the usage patterns of a university trail by employing spatial video in a geographic information system (GIS) environment. Physical activities in the southeast part of the main campus of Kent State University (Kent, Ohio), were filmed by a GPS-enabled camera unit. The observed physical activities at the time of filming were coded from the videos and visualized as maps. The study finds that activities tend to concentrate near the center of campus, the farther from the campus, the fewer number of activities. The usage patterns are different between men and women. The activity zones of men are more dispersed, while those of women are more concentrated near campus center.
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Background

Physical Activity Among College Students

Although physical activity (PA) is a personal decision, actions by communities could significantly influence residents’ choices and access to PA. Community-level approaches to promote PA, especially aerobic activities, generally include enhancing availability of and access to walking trails and /or bicycle lanes in parks, roads and sidewalks. Orstad et al. (2016) found that frequency and duration of community trail use both are adversely correlated with the distance to a trail. In addition, increasing levels of outdoor recreation opportunities and natural amenities are associated with increasing physical activity and decreasing obesity prevalence (Michimi and Wimberly, 2012). The environment of university and college communities may be particularly important for affecting students’ PA behavior. On one hand, the number of student body in the U.S. postsecondary institutions has grown rapidly, for example, it increased 20 percent between 2005 and 2015 (National Center for Education Statistics 2018); one the other hand, college overweight and obesity has been identified by literature as an epidemic with a rising rate (Huang et al., 2010; Sparling, 2007). Recreational trails in university and college communities is a critical support for students’ PA behavior (Brownson et al., 2000). Reed and Wilson (2006) also revealed that there is considerable agreement between trail awareness and trail usage among university students. However, there are few studies emphasizing the impacts of university environment on physical activities among students. Even though recreational trails are proliferating in university environment across the country, minimal research has examined the use and activity patterns of the trails, let alone the gender differences in the use of the trails.

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