Street Mobility update: first outputs

During July, the Street Mobility team presented some of the outputs of the project in international conferences.

In early July, Ashley Dhanani participated in the International Making Cities Liveable Conference in Bristol and presented his new walkability index for London, which is based on input gathered from our community engagement activities. The results of workshops with local residents in our study areas suggested, for example that public transport accessibility should be added as a variable that contributes to walkability. The model also uses space syntax methods to examine the spatial relationships of streets at a range of scales, which provides a better representation of pedestrian wayfinding behaviour than the standard approach of measuring intersection density.

Also in early July, Jennifer Mindell co-organised, with Karyn Warsow (from Transportation Public Health Link), the 1st International Conference on Transport and Health, an event to set up a structure for discussion and bring people of diverse disciplines working on the link between transport and health. The conference was held at UCL from 6-8 July. Several members of the project attended this conference.

THSource: TPH Link

On the first day of the conference, Paulo Anciaes presented the results of our video surveys in Woodberry Down and Finchley Road to assess how pedestrians react to busy roads. The surveys showed for example, that pedestrian flows along Seven Sisters Road are relatively low comparing with parallel streets, if we take into account that all the main destinations for pedestrians in Woodberry Down (i.e. tube and bus stops) are located on that road. The surveys have also identified several types of risky crossing behaviours in both case study areas, such as crossing away from signalised crossing facilities.

On the last day of the conference, Sadie Boniface presented preliminary results from our survey to assess the effects of severance on health and wellbeing in our case study areas. The majority of respondents reported experiencing problems getting around their local area due to the danger from traffic, noise, and air pollution. They also knew more neighbours on their side of the road than on the opposite side.

In the end of July, Jennifer Mindell and Paulo Anciaes participated in the 14th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons (TRANSED 2015), which was held at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon.

8119051990_ccbbda7abe_oLisbon. CC BY 2.0 portobay

4745515680_14a49095b3_oCC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Art Library Fundacao Calouste Gulbenkian

Paulo presented an overview of the Street Mobility project, explaining how the different activities of the project (community engagement, video surveys, street audits, health and wellbeing survey, stated preference survey, and spatial analysis) relate to each other and lead to a holistic understanding of the effects of busy roads on local communities.

In another session, Paulo presented the results of our literature review of the methods used by governments to measure the effects of busy roads on local accessibility, and the proposals that researchers have been making since the 1970s to improve those methods.

The literature review has just been published in the Transport Reviews journal.

As we wrote our literature review, we noticed that researchers have proposed many different definitions of “community severance” and have used different concepts (such as “barrier effect”) to describe what is assumed to be the same phenomenon. So we collected and analysed all these different definitions (we found 60 of them) and proposed a new definition, which we hope it will synthesize all past efforts. This is documented in a new working paper, which is now available in our website.

During the TRANSED conference, the team also met Pedro Gouveia who is working on the Lisbon Pedestrian Accessibility Plan, which includes a chapter on severance caused by motorways and railways. This will be the topic of a future blog post.