Seniors Walkability Environment Audit Tool-Revised (SWEAT-R)

Features of the built environment may have an effect on whether older adults are able to walk outside and can be classified as macro-scale or micro-scale. Most research studies have focused on macroscale features as information is readily available from public and private sources such as geographic information systems and municipal surveys. However, microscale features may have a greater influence on older adults’ walking behaviour. For example, a deteriorating sidewalk (micro-scale feature) may deter an older adult who uses a walker, from venturing down the street as the cracks and unevenness make it challenging for them to navigate. Typically, micro-scale features are measured by environmental audits in the field.

In some of the Active Aging Research Team’s projects, we characterized the built environment using a validated older adult-specific audit tool called the Seniors Walkability Environment Audit Tool-Revised (SWEAT-R) to document features of the microscale environment including domains of 1) functionality (e.g. structural aspects such as building usage), 2) safety (e.g. personal and traffic conditions such as presence of street lights), 3) aesethics (visual appeal and quality of surroundings and public spaces), and 4) destinations (e.g. availability of services such as transit stops).

a man walking with a walker