Climate, Geography and the Propensity to Walk: environmental factors and walking trip rates in Brisbane
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Transport planners and health promoters are presently concerned with increasing the proportion of walking trips made in urban areas in order to increase efficiencies in the transport system and rates of physical activity. However, there are numerous 'barriers to walking' that need to be overcome in order to increase walking trip rates in cities, including several environmental factors relating to the 'natural environment'. Natural environment factors include topography, and climatic variables such as heat and humidity, precipitation, and daylight availability. This study has sought to develop appropriate variables from available data sources and to synthesise them with household travel survey data so as to examine the influence of environmental factors on a person's propensity to walk in Brisbane, Australia. The primary purpose of the study was developing and testing new methods to identify the influences of environmental factors, rather than undertaking more extensive and rigorous research to provide precise measurements. Despite this, the results reveal a new set of insights into walking in this sub-tropical city that at times confirm and at other times confound popular assumptions about pedestrian activity. The belief that Brisbane's sub-tropical summer weather and hilly terrain are not conducive to non-motorised travel is not supported by these preliminary findings. Indeed the natural environmental conditions in the city appear to have little influence on the propensity of persons to walk.
ATRF06: 29th Australasian Transport Research Forum - Transport: making the most of it
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