Evaluating pedestrian perceptions of street design with a 3D stated preference survey

Dena Kasraian, Sneha Adhikari, David Kossowsky, Michael Luubert, Brent G. Hall, Jason Hawkins, Khandker Nurul Habib, Matthew J. Roorda (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
87 Downloads (Pure)


In many places, streets are still primarily designed for the convenience of motorists, considering mobility function as the principal design goal. There is a scarcity of empirical evidence on the relationship between the design of a street and how it is experienced by pedestrians who use it. This work focuses on quantifying pedestrians’ perception of walkability through a stated preference survey using a dynamic 3D representation of various street designs in Toronto, Canada. The stated preference scenarios are generated through a rule-based 3D environment (Esri’s CityEngine) and animated using a gaming engine (Unity). A random sample of 600 Torontonians is used for the empirical investigation by estimating a mixed multinomial logit model. The results indicate that there is a high preference for (i) streets that include transit lanes as opposed to car-exclusive lanes, (ii) the presence of trees on the sidewalk, and (iii) two-way cycle paths on the curb lane. Furthermore, pedestrians are willing to trade sidewalk width for the presence of trees and outdoor dining. The survey’s innovative presentation mode and its findings can contribute to the development of much-needed evidence-based design tools to assess the trade-offs required between the many possible uses of roadway space, while focusing on the overlooked role of the pedestrian experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1787-1805
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science
Issue number7
Early online date25 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • 3D survey
  • CityEngine
  • Pedestrians
  • perception of attractiveness
  • stated preference


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