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The impact of public transportation systems on food insecurity in Allegheny County: the use of data analytics to improve the built environment

Firestine, Alexander (2023) The impact of public transportation systems on food insecurity in Allegheny County: the use of data analytics to improve the built environment. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Food insecurity is a pervasive issue for Allegheny County, as 161,000 residents, or one in five, currently experience food insecurity. Food insecurity is linked to chronic health conditions like heart disease and hypertension. In the United States, food insecurity disproportionately affects minority communities. There are multiple dimensions used to measure regional food insecurity, one of which is food accessibility. Prior research has examined the linkages between food access and food insecurity, and this study aims to further explore the relationship between equitable access to sustainable food. This study examines food outlets in Allegheny County to determine if there is a significant relationship between food outlet availability and food insecurity. Both the presence and accessibility of these food outlets were examined. To measure accessibility, the walking distance to the nearest public transportation stop was calculated for each public transportation stop. The minimum distance to each food outlet was compared to food insecurity rates on Zip Code and Census Tract levels. There is no statistically significant relationship between the distance from public transportation stops to grocery stores and rates of food insecurity. However, communities without grocery stores did, on average, have higher rates of food insecurity. Census tracts provided more statistically significant results than zip codes, proving to be a more effective level of analysis for regional assessment. Altogether, sole reliance on distance as an indicator of food insecurity can be misleading, and there should be a greater focus on walkability within the community as opposed to distance.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Firestine, AlexanderATF30@pitt.eduATF30
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee MemberValdés, Leónlvaldes@katz.pitt.edulvaldes
Committee MemberDeitrick, Sabinasabinad@pitt.edusabinad
Committee MemberMeyer Grelli,
Committee ChairMurrell, AudreyAMURRELL@pitt.eduamurrell
Date: 26 April 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 14 April 2023
Approval Date: 26 April 2023
Submission Date: 25 April 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 51
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Food Insecurity, Public Transportation
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2023 15:21
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2023 15:21


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