Comparing the Walkability Level of Two Urban Roads in the City of Volos, Greece
A Galanis, N Eliou, University of Thessaly, GR
In this paper we estimated and compared the walkability level of two urban roads in the city of Volos, Greece. We used a checklist for urban segmanets and intersection and also conducted a pedestrian observation survey.
"Pedestrian safety and accessibility is a critical issue for the promotion of walking as a sustainable transport mode in urban areas. Increased transport and car use has negative effects on the quality of life, welfare and the environment, especially in urban areas where most people live. Urban road environment is not the same for each city and so is the ability of pedestrians to walk safe, having access to all areas and buildings. In this paper, in order to estimate the walkability of the urban environment in main urban streets we created a walkability audit tool. The implementation of the audit tool (checklist) took place in the city of Volos, which is a typical medium size Greek city. The study took place in two streets: Iasonos St, a main arterial 850m long and a part of 28 October St, a collector arterial 600m long, both passing through the center of the city. The target of this study is to compare the walkability level of the two streets.
The checklist was split into two parts, the urban segment one and the intersection one. In the first part, the main criteria that we examined were the traffic flow and speed, the parking conditions, the pedestrian flow, the accessibility, continuous, obstructions and maintenance of the sidewalks and the lighting condition, personal safety, building facades, land uses and aesthetics of the street. In the second part, the main criteria that we examined were the intersection control and signalization, the intersection geometry, the curb ramps, the crosswalk features and problems. After the auditing of the pedestrian urban environment, we conducted a pedestrian behaviour observation survey in each urban segment and intersection of the two roads. The main characteristics that we examined were the pedestrian illegal behaviour walking out of the sidewalk, or crossing the street out of the crosswalks or with red traffic light. The duration of the data collection for each urban segment or intersection was 15 minutes.
After the collection of the data, we analyzed data, using the Likert rating scale from 1 to 5, with 1 considering the worst and 5 the best grade, in order to assess the walkability level of each street. Furthermore, we created the design of each road segment, in order to assess indicators like the surface of the sidewalks, trees, lighting pillars and street furniture and the length or break of the pedestrian desire line.
Finally, implementing the audit tool and pedestrian observation survey, we tried to compare the walkability level of the two streets, finding out what the main problems the pedestrians face walking the streets are, and propose proper solutions in order to upgrade the walkability level of the pedestrian urban environment in a typical, medium scale Greek city of Volos."
Association for European Transport