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Future Cities Laboratory uses location-based analytics to assess “walkability” and “cyclability” in Singapore

Kareyst Lin | Sept. 28, 2016
This enables them to make well-informed recommendations for policy makers

The Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) has used location-based analytics technology to assess how walkable Singapore is today, and evaluate strategies to improve walkability in the future.

The Engaging Mobility team of FCL combined detailed information on the pedestrian environment with observations of actual behaviour and dedicated survey. This allows them to find out what affects people's behaviour in relation to walking and how it is affected, FCL said in a press statement on 26 September 2016.

Using the mobile geographic information system (GIS) survey platform Esri Collector, the FCL team was able to collect data and integrate it onto their central database. They are then able to create compelling visualisations of pedestrian networks.

This enabled them to arrive at well-informed recommendations for policy makers.

Quality of urban environment directly influences people's perception of walking

"The quality of the urban environment has a tremendous impact on how people perceive walking and directly influences people's decision on whether to go on foot or take a car or other means of transport," said Michael van Eggermond, a PhD researcher at FCL.

"In this collaboration with the Urban Redevelopment Authority, we wanted to determine what people value when walking in Singapore's dense city centre and tropical climate, to enable planners to better plan for walkability," Eggermond added.

Besides physical infrastructure, FCL also looked at things that are harder to measure. For example, the extent to which physical elements match the size and proportions of pedestrian and corresponds to the speed of humans walk.

Based on these findings, a Walkability Index was created to measure how useful, comfortable and interesting it is to walk through certain areas.

3D city design application models Singapore streets to assess cyclability

Apart from measuring walkability, FCL also examined how infrastructure for cyclist in urban cities such as Singapore is perceived.

A 3D city design application Esri City Engine is used to model Singapore's streets. This allows for an analysis of the demand for cycling infrastructure and identification of variables that would make people prefer cycling more. Variables include safety and comfort of cycling.

FCL is a research centre set up by ETH Zurich and the National Research Foundation in Singapore, focusing on sustainable future cities. 


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