Who knew? The CDC has a tool to assess built environments.

The Built Environment Assessment Tool (BE Tool) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) measures the core features and qualities of the built environment that affect health, especially walking, biking and other types of physical activity. The built environment includes the physical makeup of where we live—our homes, schools, businesses, streets and sidewalks, open spaces and transportation options.

The core features assessed in the BE Tool include:

  • Built environment infrastructure—such as road types, curb cuts and ramps, intersections and crosswalks, traffic control and public transportation.
  • Walkability—for example, access to safe, attractive sidewalks and paths with inviting features.
  • Bikeability—such as the presence of bike lane or bike path features.
  • Recreational sites and structures.
  • Food environment—such as access to grocery stores, convenience stores, and farmers markets.
  • Users can add questions or modules if more detail about an aspect of the built environment is desired (e.g. nutrition environment or pedestrian environment.)