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I Will Walk 1,000 Feet

Posted Dec 23 2008 1:52pm

by Becca Krukowski

More and more states and cities are considering or passing laws regarding menu labeling, but what about labeling for physical activity? I wouldn’t have thought of labeling for physical activity before a recent visit to the Atlanta airport. At this airport (as pictured below), the signage indicates the distance between each concourse in feet and meters, as well as the choice of walking or taking the train for transportation. So, with this information, the traveler is encouraged to decide whether they can walk the listed distance, or whether, for various reasons, they should take the train. It makes me wonder whether these signs promote more walking at this airport as compared to other airports. 


The signage at the Atlanta airport was particularly striking in contrast to my recent experience connecting at the Dallas/Fort-Worth airport. Despite my best efforts upon disembarking from the plane at the Dallas/Fort-Worth airport, I could not decipher whether it was even possible to walk to my next gate, which was in a different terminal. Every sign I saw promoted or directed travelers to the new airport transit system, and the airport maps were absolutely no help. It appeared that this signage for the transit system was working—it looked like a ghost town in the hallways between gates.   

So, if different types of signage at these airports actually influence travelers’ behavior, we could make a small impact on physical activity by opting for the Atlanta airport’s system of signage. But I bet there would be other places where we could apply “labeling” for physical activity and have a positive impact on walking behavior.  

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