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Making cities more walkable by understanding how other people influence our journeys

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Publication date18/02/2019
PublisherThe Conversation
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Cities around the world are changing to become more “walkable”. As more and more people move to cities, the benefits of encouraging people to walk are clear. Aside from making the urban environment more pleasant, safer and less polluted, improving a city’s walkability can also ease traffic congestion and improve public health.This is a particular challenge in cities built for cars, so there’s been lots of research to find out what sort of features make a city more attractive to pedestrians, and encourage them to walk further and more often: whether it’s the size of urban blocks, the quality of the pavement, the presence of trees or street furniture or initiatives such as car-free zones.But while planners and researchers strive to work out what makes urban spaces enticing to pedestrians, they often overlook the fact that people’s decisions about where to walk, and when, are not only determined by the physical qualities of the environment. In fact, new research suggests that these choices are strongly influenced by other people.

Bibliographic note

This piece was intended as a tie-in with the journal article published in Frontiers in Psychology, 'Wayfinding as a Social Activity' due to the high media attention (altmetric) that this original article had attracted.