Pedestrian Accessibility and City Form

Pedestrian Accessibility and City Form


J Alayo, Arup Transport Planning, UK



In the quest for encouraging people to walk more, much energy is being devoted to schemes for improving the pedestrian environment (pedestrianisation schemes, improving road crossings, safe routesto schools, etc). However, not much effort would seem to focus on identifying whether people have a reason to walk in the first place, i.e. what is on offer within sensible walking distance? The paper presents ways of measuring pedestrian accessibility in urban environments and it discusses how urban form and the composition of the urban fabric (density and mix) influence the level of accessibility for any location within a city.

The paper discusses different aspects in which accessibility can be considered:

* Accessibility to and from a location;

* Accessibility through a location, and

* Accessibility as visibility or presence within the urban system (important for orientation and navigating through cities);The paper then demonstrates how these various types of accessibility can be measured by using a series of case studies from various cities, for which a new software tool was used. The analysis illustrates how urban form can enhance or constrain accessibility and presents other data on density and land use mix of relevance to transport and city planning (particularly in the context of mixed-use developments and what constitutes a balanced mix).

Finally, the paper presents a policy suggestion to incorporate comprehensive accessibility parameters within the planning process as a tool to provide a sufficiently rich environment to offer most people the opportunity to avoid travelling by car or other modes.

In a relatively indirect way, there is an aspiration, at least in the UK, to provide urban environments withhigher density and more balanced mix of uses, which are expected to encourage more walking. In summary, the tools and measures presented in the paper can inform and help quantifying the influenceof urban design (including street layouts, density and mixture of development) on how people (pedestrians) use it.


Association for European Transport