Although a significant number of trips are made by foot in developing cities, pedestrian infrastructure, amenities, and services are often neglected in municipal planning and budgets (UITP 2001). Inadequate planning for pedestrians has many negative consequences, the most notable being unnecessary fatalities and injuries. Pedestrians in developing countries are much more likely to be injured or killed than they are in developed countries, even at equal vehicle flow rates. For example, in a British study completed in 1991, researchers found that at a rate of 1,500 vehicles per hour, risk rates in Nairobi and Surabaya were 86 and 172 percent greater than in urban areas in the UK (Downing 1991). Further, according to another study conducted by Transportation Research Laboratories (TRL), pedestrians can represent more than half of all fatalities in developing countries (Sayer 1997).
Beyond these safety implications, there are other negative consequences from insufficient pedestrian planning. For example, economic and social mobility can be impeded by lack of physical mobility -- traveling long distances along physically daunting corridors reduces the time and energy residents can spend on jobs, families, studies, and other productive activities. Further, lack of sufficient pedestrian infrastructure can be very costly to the city in the long run. Beyond the unnecessary costs incurred from accidents and impeded economic mobility, there are opportunity costs from lost tourism and investment opportunities -- pedestrian facilities play a significant role in the way outsiders perceive a city’s image.
According to World Bank transportation specialists, most Bank clients do not make pedestrian planning a priority and there are few incentives for them to do so. Helping city planners understand the scope and extent of local pedestrian conditions, relative to other cities, would be a positive step in the right direction, as would helping them identify specific countermeasures and costs associated with improving pedestrian conditions.
As a first step towards encouraging and helping cities improve their pedestrian infrastructure, the World Bank has developed a Walkability Index, which would reveal not only which developing cities are doing a good job and which ones require significant improvements, but also identify specific actions cities can take to improve their pedestrian infrastructure, as well as related policies and services.
- Generate awareness of walkability as an important issue in developing cities;
- Provide city officials with an incentive to address walkability issues;
- Help city planners understand scope and extent of local pedestrian conditions, relative to other cities; and
- Provide city planners with the information necessary to identify specific pedestrian-related shortcomings, as well with recommendations for next steps.
CAI-Asia Center staff and local network representatives attended a workshop on "Walkability: Walk the Talk" last 10 June at the World Bank Office in Bangkok. The participants conducted the walkability survey for selected "soi" or streets near the Siam area to assess whether Bangkok was a walkable city. The verdict - Bangkok is walkable on average but can improve further. Participants' request to Bangkok authorities: Please reduce the number of telephone booths lining the sidewalks. Aside from taking already a relevant percentage of space, they are almost always empty, anyway. Participants of this workshop committed to implement the survey and raise awareness on walkability in their respective cities.
2008 Walkability Documents
2006 Walkability Documents
Effort to make city walker-friendly
December 2, 2008
Ahmedabad : To make the city more walker-friendly is the need of the hour. With this in mind, School of Building Science and Technology (SBST) of CEPT University is conducting a study on infrastructure for pedestrians.
Read more: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Ahmedabad/Effort_to_make_city_walker-friendly_/articleshow/3785727.cms
Wanted: sidewalks for city's pedestrians City Pulse
July 3, 2008
HYDERABAD: How long has it been since you last walked on clean sidewalks, devoid of obstacles that make for a pleasant walking experience? Not many roads in our city can boast of decent sidewalks despite our politicians' shrill claims of being world class.
Read more: http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/thscrip/print.pl?file=2008070360830300.htm&date=2008/07/03/&prd=th&