Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Measuring walkability for distinct pedestrian groups with a participatory assessment method: A case study in Lisbon

Volume 157, January 2017, Pages 282–296


A walkability assessment method suitable for various pedestrian groups is presented.
Stakeholders and decision-makers were involved in indicator selection and weighting.
Application to a case-study produced detailed walkability score analytics.
Results show clear differences in walkability scores for distinct pedestrian groups.
The tool can support policies/actions towards more inclusive pedestrian environment.


Walkability has been defined as the extent to which the urban environment is pedestrian friendly. By measuring it, planning professionals may be able to address the quality of the pedestrian environment, supporting more objective, effective and comprehensive walking-related strategies and interventions.
This work presents a participatory framework for the assessment of walkability based on local circumstances and expertise, replicable on distinct urban contexts. The framework takes into account distinct pedestrian groups (adults, children, seniors and impaired mobility pedestrians) and trip purposes (utilitarian, leisure), expressing walkability in terms of seven key dimensions (7C's layout). From this conceptual framework, a methodology to evaluate walkability through GIS-based and street auditing indicators is presented. It was applied to an area in central Lisbon, Portugal, in order to evaluate the ease or difficulty that different types of pedestrians can face in their walking activities and, potentially, providing an insight for intervention and improvements.
The results show clear differences in walkability scores for different pedestrian groups, namely between adults and seniors or impaired pedestrians. Besides, a validation of the results is presented by comparing street performance, as measured by our process, with home-based surveys conducted within the study area. Validation results confirm that the evaluation framework proposed is reliable in the representation of the pedestrian environment qualities as perceived by the public.


  • Walkability;
  • Walkability score validation;
  • Pedestrian planning;
  • Urban design;
  • Built environment
Corresponding author at: Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal.