Empirical analysis of walkability using data from the Netherlands

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In urban planning and transportation research, indices have been developed to measure the walkability of neighborhoods based on land-use and transportation characteristics. Despite the extensive work on the development of walkability measures, the empirical validation of the measures has received only limited attention. The aim of this study is to test assumptions made in existing walkability indices. Based on a national neighborhood data set combined with three years of national travel survey data from the Netherlands, the relationships between physical neighborhood characteristics and walking frequency are identified through regression analysis. In the regression model, distance to supermarket, number of daily goods stores within 1 km, number of cafeterias within 1 km, total inland water, land use for residential buildings, and high urban density were found to be significant. Our analysis indicates that existing indices only partly capture variation in walkability. We find that mismatches emerge on the level of both the selection and weighting of variables. Based on the results we identify ways to improve existing indices to measure walkability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102390
JournalTransportation Research. Part D: Transport and Environment
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Chinese Scholarship Council (China). We would like to thank the Chinese Scholarship Council for providing the funding for the Ph.D. study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s)


  • Built environment
  • Objective measurement
  • Walkability
  • Walking frequency


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