Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 22 of 22

Thread: Pedestrian connectivity

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered
    Aug 2007
    Location
    West Coast
    Posts
    4

    Pedestrian connectivity

    I'm working pedestrian connectivity for a guidebook. What quantifiable methods have you used to calculate walkability?

    Due to timing & budget this will focus on just the walkability standpoint for streets/paths layout and not a qualitative analysis of the enjoyment of the walk (detached sidewalks, landscaping, architecture, etc.).

    We had been using a intersection:street length ratio and a link:node ratio but found it really wasn't providing realistic results. Any other calculations/ratios that help identify walkable and unwalkable areas? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Wellington, NZ
    Posts
    2,447
    Humans are not machines, they are very sensitive to their environment and I believe it's a mistake to talk about measures of "walkability" that do not take into account qualitative aspects, for example proximity to heavy traffic, personal security, aesthetics, attractions, or pollution.

    If you really don't want to account for those things, then call your measure something else, not walkability. Unfortunately "walkability" does not have a standard definition, and it is used in many different ways.

    I'm not trying to start an argument, but just sharing an opinion, based on research and personal experience. Think about your own route choices and why you make them. They are not just about how wide the sidewalk is or how fast you can get there.

    That said.. have you googled "walkability" - there is some good research out there on quantitative and qualitative factors. I wrote a research report on this but am unable to access it and can't remember any references just now!

    Edit: just found this, which may be of interest: Check out 'Ways to assess connectivity' on page 67. http://www.landtransport.govt.nz/con...c/chapter9.pdf

    See also: http://www.landtransport.govt.nz/con.../chapter4.html

  3. #3
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    at the neighboring pub
    Posts
    5,500
    Quote Originally posted by JNL View post
    Humans are not machines, they are very sensitive to their environment and I believe it's a mistake to talk about measures of "walkability" that do not take into account qualitative aspects, for example proximity to heavy traffic, personal security, aesthetics, attractions, or pollution.

    If you really don't want to account for those things, then call your measure something else, not walkability. Unfortunately "walkability" does not have a standard definition, and it is used in many different ways.

    I'm not trying to start an argument, but just sharing an opinion, based on research and personal experience. Think about your own route choices and why you make them. They are not just about how wide the sidewalk is or how fast you can get there.

    That said.. have you googled "walkability" - there is some good research out there on quantitative and qualitative factors. I wrote a research report on this but am unable to access it and can't remember any references just now!

    Edit: just found this, which may be of interest: Check out 'Ways to assess connectivity' on page 67. http://www.landtransport.govt.nz/con...c/chapter9.pdf

    See also: http://www.landtransport.govt.nz/con.../chapter4.html

    Echoing what JNL said...

    I would call this a pedestrian connectivity study. I think "pedestrian connectivity" might be a better set of keywords to find what you are looking for. I've never done anything like what you described, but I think that may help you find information.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  4. #4
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
    Registered
    Sep 2001
    Location
    skating on thin ice
    Posts
    6,959
    How about topography (ie slope) as a real easy one?

    A possible quick and dirty qualitative measurement is a relationship between the speed limit and the right of way width of a road, other qualitative things that are quick and easy to measure, but need to be interpreted with zonign is to look at air photos and built form/% of frontage of a building to the street or dwelling units per block.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  5. #5
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Wellington, NZ
    Posts
    2,447
    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    I think "pedestrian connectivity" might be a better set of keywords to find what you are looking for.
    Also try "pedestrian level of service".

  6. #6
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Clayobyrne, CB
    Posts
    2,581
    1. Width of sidewalk/path
    2. Barriers between travel lane and sidewalk (i.e. parked cars, guardrail, trees, etc.)
    3. Distance from nearest travel lane
    4. Average travel speed of nearest travel lane
    5. Number of driveways/curbcuts
    6. Crossing accomodations
    7. Condition of pavement
    etc.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Ewing, NJ
    Posts
    43
    Block is/is not hooked up to public water and sewers. Kind of a proxy for sprawl - area might tend to be denser and maybe more walkable if hooked up.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
    Registered
    May 2005
    Location
    New Town
    Posts
    3,904
    This website has both a pedestrian friendliness scorecard (as an excel spreadsheet): http://www.smartgrowthgateway.org/howsmart.shtml#ped

    and a walkability checklist (as a pdf): http://www.smartgrowthgateway.org/howsmart.shtml#walk

    I've used these before. I think one of their most useful aspects is that you engage with the general public to do these "walkthrough" and in the process, pull regular folk into thinking about the problems in a more informed way. This in turn makes public process and the creation of solutions more effective and empowering for the public.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    3
    I'm far from an expert in this area, but I'd have to agree with wahday that some sort of user feedback -- which could then be quantified if it needs to be -- would be the only reliable way to get data that corresponds to reality. Using a predetermined set of 'objective' criteria would measure something, but it would be at best a proxy and at worst potentially immaterial.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Plan 9's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2007
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    194
    How about a more hands-on approach. Conduct something like a visual preference study, except have people walk pre-picked routes and rate them? Of course it won't be very scientific, but you will get a good idea of what people might actually use. Just need to make sure the routes have some kind of quantifiable features (ie, slopes vs flat, shade trees vs open, curvilinear walks vs straight, narrow walks vs wide, etc) and your volunteer group is a good cross-section of the community.
    "Future events such as these will affect you in the future."

  11. #11
    Cyburbian PlannerByDay's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2002
    Location
    In the bike lane
    Posts
    1,827
    Here is an interesting website.

    www.walkscore.com

    Walk Score helps people find walkable places to live. Walk Score calculates the walkability of an address by locating nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc.

    Walk Score™ uses a patent-pending algorithm to calculate the walkability of an address based on:

    The distance to walkable locations near an address.
    Calculating a score for each of these locations.
    Combining these scores into one easy to read Walk Score.
    Read more about what makes a neighborhood walkable. We'd love to hear your feedback. Send us a suggestion!


    This may not be what your looking for but it is pretty interesting.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Wellington, NZ
    Posts
    2,447
    Quote Originally posted by Plan 9 View post
    How about a more hands-on approach. Conduct something like a visual preference study, except have people walk pre-picked routes and rate them? Of course it won't be very scientific, but you will get a good idea of what people might actually use. Just need to make sure the routes have some kind of quantifiable features (ie, slopes vs flat, shade trees vs open, curvilinear walks vs straight, narrow walks vs wide, etc) and your volunteer group is a good cross-section of the community.
    I've participated in some of these walk-alongs and seen some problems occurring re managing expectations... if you invite community members and/or pedestrian advocacy groups, everyone needs to be given a clear understanding of the scope of the project and what improvements can be expected and when. The pedestrian advocates (included parents with young children, elderly, blind, wheelchair users) were getting very excited about all sorts of improvements they'd like to see, and making detailed notes and suggestions. The transportation engineers from the council were getting anxious because they had very little budget, and they were not committed to the process and didn't turn up on the second day, leaving disgruntled community members/ped advocates. There were also others who were grumpy because they hadn't been invited to join and only found out about it afterwards.

    Also, get advice from an expert on how to record observations... the rating scales we were given to use were insane! Hundreds of tiny boxes on one page - quite confusing for everybody. And the questions on personal security were an embarrassment (forced choice options that didn't begin to reflect the possible range of responses).

    I think it's a fantastic exercise to carry out, as long as everyone is clear about what can realistically be achieved!

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Tullinge Sweden
    Posts
    190

    Space syntax and Axwoman

    Have you done any research with the concepts of spac syntax, or used the GIS tool Axwoman? "It has been found that space syntax can be a valuable tool for the prediction of people's movement in urban environments. Basic to this finding is the relationship between human spatial behaviour and urban morphological structure, i.e. how people's movement is affected by spatial perception." (citeseer.ist.psu.edu/399177.html and repeated elsewhere on the web).

    Space syntax theory suggests that visibility/viewability and urban morphology are very important factors in predicting pedestrian movement. Axwoman is available as an add-on for both ArcView and MapInfo. Am not sure that ArcGIS has caught on yet.

    Google for "space syntax" Axwoman and Bill Hillier (who is considered the priniciple theorist behind space syntax.

    I would love to know if anyone else on this forum knows about space syntax and more importantly has ever used it.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Wellington, NZ
    Posts
    2,447
    Quote Originally posted by Monamogolo View post
    I would love to know if anyone else on this forum knows about space syntax and more importantly has ever used it.
    Funny you should mention it... I recently referred to it in this thread: http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showt...032#post398032

    I was fortunate to see a presentation about Space Syntax research applied to burglary risk at a CPTED conference in Brisbane, Australia in 2001. I think the research was done in Western Australia. I also enjoyed their time-lapse mapping of pedestrian movements.. quite amazing to watch and learn about pedestrian behaviour.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,169
    I did some pedestrian level of service work before to measure connectivity of points across a university campus and into the surronding city. I remember Fort Collins, Colorado as having a good program. Try looking for their guidelines online.

  16. #16

    Irvine Minnesota Inventory

    I have done research for walkability and we used the Irvine Minnesota Inventory. It is a guide to testing/comparing health, walkability and many other things. It would be a great reference tool. A simple Google search will give you tons of information.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Wildono's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Running with the Proverbial Dark Lord
    Posts
    92

    LUTAQH, HealthScape and Anne Vernez-Moudon

    Anne Vernez-Moudon, a Professor of Urban Design & Planning at the University of Washington, has published numerous works on walkability and urban form. Check out the list of publications at her faculty bio website:

    http://www.caup.washington.edu/udp/f-moudon.html

    Also, King County, Washington has been considering policy carrots and sticks for implementation of its HealthScape study (formerly known as LUTAQH (Land Use, Transportation, Air Quality and Health)) findings. Most of the attention is focused on directing regional transportation investment to favor local jurisdictional policies with a strong orientation toward walkability, transit and mixing land uses at increased intensities.

    http://www.metrokc.gov/healthscape/publications.aspx

    Hope this helps!
    "That guy handles the puck like a cow handles a gun!" - Mike Lange

  18. #18
    Cyburbian vagaplanner's avatar
    Registered
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Yo momma's house!
    Posts
    296
    Quote Originally posted by ocmillhouse View post
    I'm working pedestrian connectivity for a guidebook. What quantifiable methods have you used to calculate walkability?

    Due to timing & budget this will focus on just the walkability standpoint for streets/paths layout and not a qualitative analysis of the enjoyment of the walk (detached sidewalks, landscaping, architecture, etc.).

    We had been using a intersection:street length ratio and a link:node ratio but found it really wasn't providing realistic results. Any other calculations/ratios that help identify walkable and unwalkable areas? Thanks.

    I have had the hardest time trying to convince developers and the powers that be that sidewalks on one side of residential streets is inadequate for walkability. In my mind, only half of the city would be walkable, so to me that is a huge factor in walkability that we have to get through their heads before we start to address the other details of measuring walkability.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    10,052
    A recent study on TOD's was posted on teh Transportation Research Board site. The study used interviews with station users to determine what is important to them in the decision to walk to the station. Some interesting findings:

    1) People will walk 1/2 mile, not the 1/4 mile we typically use as a standard.
    2) The most important consideration is time. People take the shortest route. Real or perceived barriers are an issue.
    3) The second-most important issue is safety.
    4) Streetscape, which we planners like to hold up as all-important, has very little impact on the decision.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2005
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    1,150
    But Cardinal, is that information applicable in general or specifically to people walking to/from a transportation terminus that they are more or less obliged to use?

    My understanding is that streetscape considerations are more important for trips where alternatives exist (say, I can walk in my neighbourhood down to a grocery shop having stopped off at the newsstand or I can drive to a strip mall, come back home and sit in the yard).
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    10,052
    Quote Originally posted by Luca View post
    But Cardinal, is that information applicable in general or specifically to people walking to/from a transportation terminus that they are more or less obliged to use?

    My understanding is that streetscape considerations are more important for trips where alternatives exist (say, I can walk in my neighbourhood down to a grocery shop having stopped off at the newsstand or I can drive to a strip mall, come back home and sit in the yard).
    The authors of the study (acedemics) would probably tell you that it is difficult to generalize from this study to alternative pedestrian situations. I wonder from experience, though, if they don't have something for us to consider, though. We all know that people choose the shortest path between places. That is why we look at the tracks through the grass when we plan where to place the new walkways. We also know how barriers such as busy streets can discourage walking.

    I was in a downtown meeting recently where the issue of parking came up. It was the usual - the staff claiming that there was enough while the merchants claimed there was not. A developer got the answer right. It is there, but nobody will use it because they need to take their life in their hands to cross the street. This city spent a boatload of money on the usual brick paver and decorative lighting treatment, but they failed to realize the most important element. It is not aesthetic design, but taming traffic, that would make the downtown an environment in which people wanted to walk (or in this case, park their car and walk).

    I have said many times that as a profession we are too concerned with design, and especially when that design becomes so standardized that it is really no different from what it replaced. We need to begin by focusing on the basics. Creating clear paths (removing barriers) and making the environment feel safe for pedestrians (taming traffic) should come before decorative treatments.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  22. #22
    Quote Originally posted by Monamogolo View post
    Have you done any research with the concepts of spac syntax, or used the GIS tool Axwoman? "It has been found that space syntax can be a valuable tool for the prediction of people's movement in urban environments. Basic to this finding is the relationship between human spatial behaviour and urban morphological structure, i.e. how people's movement is affected by spatial perception." (citeseer.ist.psu.edu/399177.html and repeated elsewhere on the web).

    Space syntax theory suggests that visibility/viewability and urban morphology are very important factors in predicting pedestrian movement. Axwoman is available as an add-on for both ArcView and MapInfo. Am not sure that ArcGIS has caught on yet.

    Google for "space syntax" Axwoman and Bill Hillier (who is considered the priniciple theorist behind space syntax.

    I would love to know if anyone else on this forum knows about space syntax and more importantly has ever used it.
    Yeah sure I´ve heard about Space Syntax in school. I think it´s a great way to predict future plans. I haven´t worked with it practitcal but I´m hoping to do so soon. Actually there are som great scientists in stockholm that are studying the therory and uses it in their analytical work as architects. They are called Space Scape. You should look em up couse the got som great ideas.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Pedestrian connectivity
    Design, Space, and Place
    Replies: 1
    Last post: 02 Sep 2010, 5:09 AM
  2. Replies: 1
    Last post: 04 Apr 2008, 3:49 PM
  3. Neighborhood road connectivity
    Transportation Planning
    Replies: 17
    Last post: 10 Nov 2005, 10:04 AM
  4. Neighborhood connectivity
    Transportation Planning
    Replies: 1
    Last post: 19 Jul 2002, 5:52 PM
  5. Connectivity index
    Transportation Planning
    Replies: 3
    Last post: 09 Aug 2001, 8:59 PM