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Built environment variables influencing pedestrian trips: Guidelines for the design of pedestrian-oriented urban development: Towards a walkable city

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Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
STRIA Roadmaps
Smart mobility and services (SMO)
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Passenger transport


Background & Policy context

Knowledge of how urban planning and design influence pedestrian mobility is crucial to drawing up and improving guidelines for planning and architectural work. These guidelines are the final project goal, as an instrument to substitute conventional methods of urban design by others oriented to facilitating pedestrian trips.


The Project had two main goals:

  • To investigate how urban characteristics affect pedestrian mobility;
  • To prepare a set of guidelines for a more pedestrian oriented urban design.  

The research aimed to analyse the existing knowledge on the topic, completing it by developing several specific investigations on the influence of those urban features whose impacts on pedestrian are still not well known and to check them with respect to the Spanish case. Thirteen specific areas of research are designed, each one with its own goals and methodology.

These thirteen sub-projects were:

  • IE-01 - Study of motives of diversion made by pedestrians;
  • IE-02 - Perception Study of attractions of walking as a mode of transport;
  • IE-03 - Study of densities and pedestrian mobility;
  • IE-04 - Study of densities and walking to school;
  • IE-05 - Exploratory study of the influence of land-use mix on pedestrian mobility;
  • IE-06 - Study of walking trips to work and the degree of land-use mix;
  • IE-07 - Study of walking trips from home and the degree of land-use mix;
  • IE-08 - Study of pedestrian mobility and parameters of urban layout;
  • IE-09 - Study of the influence of pedestrianisation, measures to improve pedestrian and vehicle coexistence, and street design alterations on walking trips;
  • I
    E-10 - Study of walking trips and typologies of relations with the street;
  • IE-11 - Study of walking trips and ground floor land uses;
  • IE-12 - Study of the influence of the street characteristics on pedestrian safety (accidents in relation to the widths of road carriageways and footways);
  • IE-13 - Study of the effect of main roads on walking trips.

First, the research was divided in the following objectives and phases:

Objective A: Influence of the city-planning variables in pedestrian mobility:

  • Phase I: Identify significant the city-planning variables, by means of a literature review;
  • Phase II: Study the available information on the influence of each variable and identification of existing knowledge gaps;
  • Phase III: Design specific research to fill knowledge gaps in each variable or by groups with variables;
  • P
    hase IV: Develop the specific research;
  • Phase V: Draw up partial and global conclusions on the incidence of the city-planning-architectonic characteristics in pedestrian mobility.

Objective B: Writing recommendations for the city-planning and architectonic practice.

  • Phase VI: Revise the existing recommendations;
  • Phase VII: Select and group the variables and susceptible practices of generic treatment;
  • Phase VIII: Write the recommendations.

Among the 13 studies done, the following are highlighted:

  • Influence of density and mixture of land-uses on pedestrian mobility. This study is oriented to evaluate the influence of the urban density and the mixture of land-uses in the modal choice for walking trips. The methodology used for this study is a univariant statistic analysis with data coming from the Mobility Survey that was done in Madrid in 2004 (modal distribution, resident density, school job and positions, etc). The sample population used was taken from residents in the Madrid Community (sample: approx. 35000 homes & 95000 questionnaires) 

  • Influence of the urban layout (morphologic configuration in the urban area). This study is aimed to evaluate the influence of the morphologic configuration (configuration accessibility), quantifying with techniques of "Space Syntax", both in the distribution of pedestrian flows and in the modal distribution. The methodology used is the model "Syntax Spa


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
CEDEX (Centro de Estudios y Experimentación de Obras Públicas)1; part of the Ministry of Public Works and Infrastructures
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


(The following are interim results.)

Main variables considered in the urban environment were:

  1. Density: relation between urban trace, usually number of buildings and surface 
  2. Mixture of land-uses: proportion between different land-uses in a specific area - The relationship between the residential use and other land-uses was studied    
  3. Distribution of the land-uses and services: Distribution of the services, equipments and other trip generators in a zone. Distance from them to the buildings.    
  4. Urban morphology: indexes with the type of intersections, length of the section, size of the block, connectivity, local centrality, etc.    
  5. Urban landscape: relation between the building and street, spatial definition of the street or road, urban landscape ("avenue corridor", “garden street”, etc)    
  6. Configuration and uses of the ground floor of the building: uses (commerce, building, private garden, public garden, inter-block space, etc.), accesses, visibility   
  7. Street geometry: dimensions in a longitudinal and transversal section, street type (kerb, coexistence of vehicles/pedestrians, etc.) 

rom the results obtained it should be interesting to consider the necessity:

  • To count on sufficient samples, in particular in sub-project IE-01.   
  • To use revealed preference data (counts), as opposed to the declared preferences (surveys). It can help to reframe the pending research such as in sub-projects IE-06, IE-07, IE-09 and IE-10    
  • To inspect interactions among variables. Again the statistical techniques can help.    
  • To value the approach to the problem from social and personal necessities. It can be translated in accessibility measures, without considering as much trips as people. 

Other detected knowledge gaps are related to the need t

Technical Implications

None yet.

Policy implications

None yet.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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