Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a model for pedestrian activity. It can predict with 80% accuracy how changes in city infrastructure will affect pedestrian routes. The full text of the scientific work was published in the journal PLoS ONE.
The study lasted seven years and was conducted in Melbourne. The main selection criterion was the availability of an automatic metering system (PCS) located in more than 90 parts of the city. With their help, scientists measured the number of pedestrians in the morning and evening peak hours, as well as at lunchtime. As the calculation showed, the most traffic was at the stations – about 4,000 people per hour. Many city dwellers also moved between parking lots and offices, and about 10% of all pedestrian activity was from people going to parks.
Numerous studies have shown that being able to walk in a city has a positive effect on overall health, strengthens the bonds of people in the local community, and even reduces energy consumption.
During the observations, the infrastructure of the city and the number of its inhabitants were constantly changing. To account for these parameters, the scientists used the statistics of land use and employment (CLUE). For greater accuracy, they also noted how the number of people on the street changed depending on the weather.
According to Andres Sevtsuk, professor of urbanism and planning at MIT and lead author of the study, the goal of the project was to highlight the important role of pedestrians in urban design.
“This model allows us to assess the level of impact of the planned areas and buildings on pedestrians. This is a necessary complement to the “road network impact assessment” that many US planners are required to do as part of their environmental impact analysis, ”says the study leader.
Scientists are now working on a similar project in Lebanon with their colleagues at the American University of Beirut.