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Nevertheless, we walk: critical evaluation of walkability

Authors: Jieun Lee*, University of Northern Colorado, Igor Vojnovic, Michigan State University, Sue C Grady, Michigan State University
Topics: Transportation Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, Urban Geography
Keywords: Accessibility, Mobility, Built environment, Road Network Buffer, Non-automobile and Automobile trips, Urban decline
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

While the positive linkage between compact urban built environment and active transportation has been well recognized in urban transportation research, such studies, and the nature of these relationships, remain under-represented in neighborhoods experiencing extreme disinvestment and decline. In communities such as Detroit, and many other Midwestern cities, a further caution is required to apply the conventional assumption about compact urban form, accessibility and travel needs. This research focuses on measuring precise variations in built environment factors – urban density, land use mix, and connectivity – in Detroit region, and how they are linked to individual travel. Using reconstituted the built environment immediately surrounding households – Road Network Buffers (RNBs) as a walking-shed, this research reconfirms that compact urban built environment promotes non-automobile travel, and specifically reaffirms the importance of diverse land uses in encouraging pedestrian travel. Furthermore, this research expands the knowledge of urban travel by exploring urban travel with more nuanced dimensions in neighborhood characteristics, such as mixed land uses combined with amenity disparities in neighborhoods experiencing extreme disinvestment and decline. In turn, the results contribute to understanding severe accessibility and mobility disparities in urban areas, and developing more equitable policies in urban economic and transportation planning.

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