Research

Research

Un indice per misurare la accessibilità di prossimità

The Inclusive Accessibility by Proximity Index (IAPI) measures accessibility to essential services using GIS, focusing on conditions that enhance or hinder walkability, cyclability, and social interactions at the neighbourhood level. Its implementation in Bologna allowed for mapping the quality of pedestrian and cycling routes, evaluating accessibility to neighbourhood services via active mobility, and assessing the impact of pedestrianization interventions on the quality of routes and public spaces. With its ease of calculation, transferable approach using open-source data, and the ability to update indicators and coefficients, IAPI can support the development of multi-sector policies at various scales.

Article published in Italian.

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Measuring accessibility by proximity for an inclusive city

Accessibility is crucial for social inclusion, influenced by transport systems, land use, temporal availability, and individual features. It measures people’s ability to engage in social life and activities contributing to their well-being. This paper introduces the Inclusive Accessibility by Proximity Index (IAPI), designed to assess accessibility to essential services and activities for local residents. IAPI considers the physical and perceptual characteristics of urban spaces and paths, reflecting different mobility needs and habits. It guides urban planning to promote walkability, cyclability, and active mobility, aiming for a sustainable and inclusive city. Using Bologna, Italy, as a testbed, the paper details the IAPI methodology, results, and steps for scalability and context sensitivity.

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Making walking irresistible: enabling level-of-service measures to achieve their potential

Despite walking’s exceptional benefits, it receives surprisingly little attention. To address this, the potential of “level of service” (LOS) measures to highlight the status of walking is investigated. A literature survey on various LOS measures reveals their distinct evolutionary paths and the lack of true commensurability across modes. A micro-simulation modelling exercise suggests pedestrians fare worse than drivers, even where walking is promoted, confirming measurement anomalies across modes. The availability of “ideal speeds” is crucial for commensurability; thus, a critical assessment of “free-flow” speeds for vehicles proposes using sprinting speeds for pedestrians to gauge performance.

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The value of street experiments for mobility and public life: Citizens’ perspectives from three European cities

‘Street experiments’ (SE) temporarily reallocate street space from traffic to people. Existing research often evaluates SE from upscaling or public acceptability perspectives, but few studies explore what citizens value about SE in everyday life. This paper addresses this gap by analyzing how 458 citizens value five SE parklets and plazas in London, Munich, and Bologna. Using an inductive, qualitative survey method, it identifies valued mobility and public life dimensions, considering use value and social meanings. The findings show citizens prioritize SE’s public life benefits—enhanced streetscape, public space availability, and social interaction—over active mobility benefits. This framework aids understanding citizen evaluations and informs better SE design.

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Urban transport experimentation: a network or hybrid governance process?

This chapter examines the governance of urban transport experimentation, emphasizing the role of collaboration and partnerships beyond government for policy innovation. It explores two propositions: whether municipal governments should primarily enable activities by civil society and private actors, and if voluntary experiment partnerships with shared sustainability goals effectively co-create policy innovations. Using empirical research from 108 transport experiments in Bristol and New York City (1996-2016), it finds that non-state involvement and network partnerships can be crucial but are not essential. Instead, urban transport experimentation is better characterized as ‘hybrid governance,’ featuring multiple co-existing governance modes.

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How Does Pedestrian Accessibility Vary for Different People? Development of a Perceived User-Specific Accessibility Measure for Walking (Paws)

Current accessibility measures often overlook the diverse needs of different user groups, leading to a mismatch between calculated and perceived accessibility. This paper proposes a new method that accounts for individual perceptions and walkability needs, developing Perceived user-specific Accessibility measures for Walking (PAWs) for seniors, children, women, and wheelchair users. By adjusting the Geo Open Accessibility Tool (GOAT) and using the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), the most important walkability attributes are incorporated and weighted. Results from Munich reveal a nuanced understanding of pedestrian infrastructure, aiding urban planners in creating more inclusive, equitable environments that enhance quality of life and access to amenities.

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Connecting people and places: Analysis of perceived pedestrian accessibility to railway stations by Bavarian case studies

Walking is crucial for connecting transport modes and accessing public transport. However, pedestrian accessibility to railway stations is often only measured by distance and time. This study examines factors influencing perceived pedestrian accessibility, addressing gaps between calculated and perceived accessibility. The literature review identified six key criteria: directness, simplicity, traffic safety, security, comfort, and built environment. Surveys in five Bavarian towns assessed these factors’ importance, revealing comfort, safety, and security as critical. Significant differences emerged between age groups and city sizes, highlighting the need for nuanced understanding in planning pedestrian access.

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The role of municipalities and their impact on the transitional capacity of city street experiments: Lessons from Ghent

City street experiments can drive systemic change in urban mobility but often face institutional barriers limiting their effectiveness. This paper examines how municipalities’ roles—promoter, enabler, and partner—affect the transitional capacity of street experiments. Using the Living Streets program in Ghent, Belgium as a case study, we find that municipal leadership and legitimacy, particularly in promoter and enabler roles, enhance transitional capacity in the early stages, especially for radical, contentious experiments. Provision of financial, material, and human resources is crucial regardless of role. We also discuss two dilemmas: whether street experiments should be temporary and if their low-risk nature can align with long-term urban mobility policies.

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