Using Open Source Data to Measure Street Walkability and Bikeability in China: A Case of Four Cities
Authors: Peiqin Gu, Zhiyuan Han, Zhejing Cao, Yulin Chen, Yang Jiang
Abstract: Whether people would choose to walk or ride a bike for their daily travel is affected by how desirable the environment is for walking and biking. To better inform urban planning and design practices, studies on measuring walkability and bikeability have emerged in western countries over the last decade. However, such efforts are still rare in developing countries, partially due to the scarcity of urban data. Utilizing open source data, this paper puts forward a methodology to comprehensively and objectively measure street walkability and bikeability in China. The methodology was applied to four Chinese cities: Tianjin, Chongqing, Kunming, and Shijiazhuang. Analyses showed the following results: (1) city centers tend to have higher walkability than periphery areas; (2) a preliminary bikeable street network exists in most cities (except mountainous cities), but the prevalence of bike lanes on streets is much lower than that of sidewalks; (3) the problem of illegal parking on both sidewalks and bike lanes is severe, especially in city centers; (4) biking safety and comfort is compromised due to a lack of physically separated bike lanes; and (5) the street wall continuity varies from place to place whereas the street network in traditional city centers is much denser than newly developed car-oriented areas. The end of the paper provides corresponding policy implications.
Key words: Open source data; Street walkability; Bikeability; China