Research Forum 22 May

Dear colleagues in the VREF community, welcome to join next Research Forum within the Walking as a Mode of Transport program – where we will focus on:

Methodologies for researching and exploring walkability

Studies on the relationship between the built environment and walking behaviour – often called walkability – have in recent years grown into a field of its own. Within this field, a group of built environment metrics are often used to predict the share or number of walking trips. However, despite the vast number of findings confirming these relationships, methodological challenges remain. For instance, these studies have been criticized for not taking subjective factors into account, ignoring distibutional effects between socio-economic groups, using poor proxies for built environment features or assuming these proxies are applicable in “all” urban contexts. Further, emerging new data sources present new possibilities and challenges. 

This Research Forum includes three research projects all methodologically advancing research on walkability.



TIME: 3.00-5.00 PM GMT



Moderator: Maja Karoline Rynning, The Institute of Transport Economics, Norway

Welcome and introduction: Henrik Nolmark, VREF director


From Accessibility Measures to the Understanding of Walkability
Presenter: Juan Pablo Ospina Zapata, Universidad EAFIT, Colombia 
Discussant: Julian Arellana, Universidade del Norte, Brazil

Measuring Walkability: A Comprehensive Index for Enhancing Pedestrian-Friendly Environments in Latin American Cities
Presenter: Ana Margarita Larranaga, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Discussant: Roberto Ponce-Lopez, Tecnológico de Monterrey, México

Walking across borders: Exploring challenges to walkability in the Global South
Presenter: Rounaq Basu, MIT, US
Discussant: Rossana Valdivia Pallares, Tecnológico de Monterrey, México

Plenary Discussion

– News and next steps in the Walking Program
David Lindelöw, Coordinator, VREF:s Walking as a Mode of Transport Program (Walking)


Since 2021 VREF has launched a series of research-based webinars called Research Forums, where scholars are given the opportunity to present their work to colleagues from various parts of the VREF community.  We are pleased that the initiative has been well-received as an opportunity for scholars in transport and mobility studies to share their work, get to know each other, and build networks.

The purpose of the Research Forums within the program Walking as a Mode of Transport is:

  • to stimulate scientific discussion of specific issues/themes related to sustainable urban mobility and equitable access, with a focus on Walking as a Mode of Transport
  • to provide an opportunity for project teams to present and discuss their on-going work with research colleagues within the Walking community
  • to provide a meeting place for dialogue and exchange among researchers and other stakeholders within the Walking community

Each Research Forum consist of presentations of on-going work in specific projects, followed by short questions, inputs and clarifications about the project  by a discussant, and a general discussion where all participants are invited to participate.

Do you have questions, thoughts or ideas related to the Walking program? Do not hesitate to contact us at