University of Twente Student Theses


Tambula nange : relations between perceived walkability, built environment and pedestrian route choice in a developing country

Riemens, S.C.A. (2018) Tambula nange : relations between perceived walkability, built environment and pedestrian route choice in a developing country.

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Abstract:The present thesis concerns the use of a route choice model with smartphone GPS data on walkability gathered in a developing country. Specifically, the Recursive Logit model is used which allows for choice modelling without choice sets of paths. The purpose of this is to uncover which factors determine the route people use when walking to their destination, even though such choices are often made subconsciously. Novel in this research is not only the application of the RL model to pedestrian route choice but also the inclusion of perceived walkability indicators: that is to say, the people who were doing the walking were also asked to give their opinion about various elements along their route. The influence of these subjective assessments is compared to that of more traditional objective indicators, measured using a Built Environment inventory form. We find that the subjective measures provide slightly more information about route choices as the objective indicators do, but that a model combining these factors produces a better fit by far. This suggests that it is important for future pedestrian route choice research to try and include subjective factors into the model if possible. Concretely, the pedestrians in this research seemed to avoid roads with speed bumps and those with traffic islands or other crossing aids, as well as roads where the roadside was blocked by parked cars or those with heavy presence of litter and garbage. Paths with presence of police or private security guards were used comparatively more often. Of the subjective indicators, only two had a significant influence: roads which were deemed to be more lively were used more often, as well as those deemed to be unsafe because of traffic conditions. Interestingly, participants did not seem to avoid steep climbs and the state of the pedestrian infrastructure, including such indicators as pavement condition and path continuity, did not significantly influence route choices. The data for this research was collected in Kampala, Uganda during a five-month stay assisted by local NGO Advocates for Public Spaces. Fifty-nine people agreed to be tracked via their cellphone for a one week period each. In total, over 500 walking routes were collected and the participants gave ratings to more than 1200 locations. This was done using a newly developed Android app, simply called Walkability, which collected and stored the routes and ratings. Participants used their own phone or borrowed one from a pool of phones which were made available for this project. The second source of data was collected using another Android app developed for this research, called GPStionnaire. A Built Environment Inventory survey was conducted and the app was used to geo-reference the survey answers. In total, 137 locations were assessed using the survey tool, which included 36 questions. This research project was proposed by the University of Cape Town and fits into a broader range of projects dealing with walking, walkability and the use of smartphone applications in developing countries. The title of this research, “tambula nange”, is a Luganda phrase meaning “walk with me” and is also the title of a very popular song that was released during the author’s stay in Uganda. The singer beseeches the Lord to travel with him and to show him the way.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:56 civil engineering
Programme:Civil Engineering and Management MSc (60026)
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