The main focus of this research project was the understanding of land use and transport interaction and their integration in medium-sized cities, and their consequences for travel behaviour and travel patterns. We assumed that medium-sized cities have specific features that distinguish them from large cities, causing therefore specific mobility patterns in these cities. Therefore, our objective was to deeply understand these research questions within these cities’ specificities, and to find guidelines and orientations for land use and transport policies integration to promote sustainable mobility patterns in these realities.
Four medium-sized cities were used as case studies (Castelo Branco, Santarém, Vila Real and Faro), in order to find specificities from our cities that may support or challenge previous research results. In addition, we also wanted to further develop and test the concept of accessibility (from a multimodal perspective) as a tool to evaluate the integration of land use and transport.
The project, funded by FCT (PTDC/AUR-URB/111013/2009), was coordinated by Rui Alves (IPCB) and David Vale (FA-ULisboa), and involved researchers from four universities: IPCB, FA-ULisboa, UTAD, and UAlg.
One major output of the project was the creation of ArcGIS toolboxes to calculate 35 built environment indicators, grouped into 6 distinct categories (Density, Diversity, Design, Connectivity, Accessibility, and Topography), available to download for free here.
More info can be found at the project dedicated website.
Vale, D.S. and M. Pereira (2017) “The influence of the impedance function on gravity-based pedestrian accessibility measures: a comparative analysis” Environment and Planning B, 44(4), pp. 740-763
Abstract: Pedestrian accessibility has been growing in importance as an urban planning objective. Assessing it with gravity-based or potential accessibility measures requires the selection of an impedance function in order to reflect the friction of distance. The choice of impedance function is crucial to pedestrian accessibility assessment due to the level of spatial data detail required and also because perceived distances differ from physical distances. Here, we measure and compare 20 gravity- based measures, varying the impedance function and associated parameters. Correlation analysis revealed a significant and strong correlation between the measures. Factor analysis extracted two groups of measures, differing mainly in their maximum cutoff travel distance, i.e. the distance at which the impedance function reaches zero. Spatial analysis revealed that all measures produce similar spatial results in terms of identifying high and low accessibility locations but different values for medium accessibility locations. Places located at between 200 and 400 m from an opportunity are especially sensitive to the impedance function used. We promote a cumulative–Gaussian approach to measure pedestrian accessibility, as it explicitly includes the travel tolerance concept and we found it to be the most robust measure in terms of data variability.
Vale, David S. e Mauro Pereira (2016) “Influence on pedestrian commuting behavior of the built environment surrounding destinations: A structural equations modeling approach” International Journal of Sustainable Transportation.10(8), 730-741.
Abstract: As stated by the Behavioral Model of the Environment, the built environment has a clear influence on walking at three different levels: origins and destinations, the areas surrounding them, and the routes connecting them. Nevertheless, the vast majority of research on the relationship between the built environment and travel has focused on origins and the areas surrounding them (the residential neighborhood), so our understanding of the influence of destinations and routes remains limited. In this paper, we develop a Structural Equations Model to explain pedestrian commuting behavior, i.e. walking distance and number of walking trips, controlling for socio-economic factors, attitudes and commuting distance, whilst comparing the built environments of origins with those of destinations. The built environment was described by means of several GIS-based indicators reflecting density, diversity, design and accessibility, using floating catchment areas for each building identified as an origin or destination of any trip. Our results show that the characteristics of destinations are significant predictors of walking behavior. Moreover, accessibility assumes a mediating role between the built environment and walking behavior, suggesting that it should be explicitly measured to explain that behavior and conceived not as an additional dimension of the built environment, but as a variable determined by it. Therefore, special attention should be paid towards urban planning of major urban destinations, since improving their multimodal accessibility and local walking conditions can contribute to increased walking activity.
Vale, David S., Miguel Saraiva e Mauro Pereira (2016) “Active accessibility: a review of operational measures of walking and cycling accessibility.” Journal of Transport and Land Use 9 (1):1-27.
Abstract: Active travel is enthusiastically promoted in the Western world due to its clear and demonstrated individual and collective benefits. While active travel has been shown to be associated with features of the built environment such as density and land-use mix, it is also associated with walking and cycling accessibility—which we designate as active accessibility. However, the measurement of active accessibility is not straightforward and it can represent significantly different features of the built environment. This paper presents an extensive review of published research that measures active accessibility. We classified the literature into four categories based on the methodology used: distance-based, gravity-based or potential, topological or infrastructure-based, and walkability and walk score-type measures. A fifth category was created to classify outliers consisting of distinct methodological approaches or hybrids of the four main categories. We argue that almost all of these methods have conceptual and computational limitations, and that there are inconsistencies in the use of concepts and terms. Furthermore, no sensitivity analysis was carried out on the selected parameters. We conclude by presenting some guidelines that might improve the value and clarity of active accessibility research, theory, and practice.
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