From accessibility measures to the understanding of walkability

WK-2023-EP-04
Project Leader: Juan Pablo Ospina Zapata
School of Applied Sciences and Engineering, Universidad EAFIT, Chile.

Partners:

  • Rounaq Basu, MIT, USA
  • Arnab Jana, IIT Bombay,Mumbai, India
  • Ahana Sarkar, IIT Bombay,Mumbai, India
  • Roberto Ponce-Lopez, Center for the Future of Cities, TEC de Monterrey, Mexico
  • Nelida Astrid Escobedo Ruiz, School of Architecture, Art and Design, TEC de Monterrey, Mexico

Abstract:

In many cities in the Global South, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), urban planning often suffers from inequalities and segregation in land use and population distribution. Additionally, while accessibility measurement has advanced in other contexts, many of these LAC cities lack practical tools to aid decision-makers due to the complexity of calculating some measures or the need for extensive data. Although accessible and easily communicable accessibility measures are relevant, when focusing on pedestrian proximity analysis, these measures typically rely on conventional network analysis algorithms that find the shortest or least time-consuming paths.

Consequently, they don’t provide insight into whether people actually walk or the factors influencing their walking routes in cities. To address this gap, especially in LAC contexts, there’s a need for comprehensive methods that combine accessibility estimates with an understanding of the factors affecting walkability, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Our project aims to develop and validate such a methodology for assessing walkability in diverse environments in Guadalajara (Mexico) and Medellín (Colombia). This methodology will encompass quantitative measures of physical and proximate factors, including accessibility and proximity to services, alongside qualitative insights from individuals’ perceptions of their walking experiences. Our goal is to identify key spatial and urban elements that either promote or hinder walking as a mode of transportation. Specifically, we will explore whether proximity to services significantly influences individuals’ walking choices and compare these findings with accessibility/proximity measures. Ultimately, our project seeks to contribute to the creation of more pedestrian-friendly urban environments.