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Using Trout Run Trail To Get To Work At Rockwell
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Using Trout Run Trail To Get To Work At Rockwell

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Luther College Students prepared the following community assessments as part of their Psychology of Health and Illness class in the Fall Semester 2008.

Luther College Students prepared the following community assessments as part of their Psychology of Health and Illness class in the Fall Semester 2008.

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  • 1. Introduction This past summer a new trail, part of the Trout Run Trail project, was put into place that effectively bypasses Highway 9 to connect downtown Decorah to the Wal-Mart business park and businesses in Freeport (Figures 2 and 3). This trail has many positive attributes. It is well kept by the city of Decorah, kept clean of debris and snow. Further, it eliminates the danger of riding or walking on highway 9, the only other means to traverse a river and some distance to Freeport. The trail at this point ends near Wal-Mart, but it is intended to be extended towards Freeport in the near future. This trail offers an effective means of transport for employees traveling from Decorah or surrounding area to Freeport. Determining the Efficacy of Sidewalks and Trails for Employees Working at Local Businesses in Close Proximity to a Walkable Path Luther College December 2008 Psychology of Health and Illness Study by Zukiswa Mpande, Michael Lancaster, Christopher Nevala-Plagemann and Karl Gilbertson with assistance by Dr. Loren Toussaint Methods Our study surveyed 300 workers at a local aerospace-manufacturing plant. The site is located in Freeport, a community about 1 mile from the current end of Trout Run Trail (Figure 2). Subjects were given a short, 11 question survey asking questions related to their knowledge and or use of the trail for daily work transit. Apart from background information, one section of the survey dealt with a stages of change model for usage of the trail to their business. Another section focused on declared barriers, investigating why people did or did not utilize the Trout Run Trail. The survey was administered to the subjects on Thursday the 20 th of November, 2008 at the manufacturing site where all the employees had already gathered for a purpose other than taking this survey. Results Our hypothesis stated that Trout Run Trail should be moderately to heavily used by employees going to work. After analyzing the data, we soon realized that, using the transtheoretical model for change, the employees that we surveyed were not at all disposed towards using the trail nor were planning to use it in the future for traveling to work. Curiously, only 1 survey in 195 claimed to use the trail. The most usable data were the responses to how far a subject would be willing to walk to their business. This data is displayed in Figure 1. In addition, we found that the average practical walking distance as reported by the employees was 3.7 miles. Discussion In response to our hypothesis, the data shows that virtually no employee at Rockwell Collins utilizes the Trout Run Trail in order to get to work. This directly contradicts our hypothesis. Though nearly every responder indicated an awareness of the trail, only one subject claimed to use it on a regular basis to get to Rockwell Collins. The data from the first 4 questions indicates that 99% of employees at Rockwell Collins are in the precontemplation stage of the Transtheoretical Stages of Change model. This means that though all of them are aware of the availability of the trail, none have indicated they have any intention of using it to or from work. Our research focus shifted towards looking at the distance barrier, which proved to be quite interesting. Out of just under 200 surveys a majority of them, most of them women, declared distance to be the barrier that kept their trail usage to a minimum or nil. On average, subjects responded saying that the maximum distance that they would willingly walk or bike to work was 3.7 miles. Knowing this, it might indicate that trails that go straight to their destination will be more effective and used by employees than scenic trails that meander towards their destination. Objective To determine the extent of and possible barriers to use of Trout Run Trail for employees of local businesses. Hypothesis Our initial assumption was that the Trout Run Trail would be moderately to heavily utilized by employees on their commute to and from work. The fact that it was in great condition and bypassed a major danger to walkers and bikers encouraged this hypothesis. Finally, the close proximity of the trail to Decorah and local businesses made it seem an ideal alternative to driving.
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    • Toussaint, Loren. Lecture.
    Figure 2 Figure 1 Figure 3