OS-WALK-EU: An open-source tool to assess health-promoting residential walkability of European city structures
Author ORCID Identifier
Municipal and structural engineering, Transport engineering, Civil engineering, Public and environmental health
Introduction This paper introduces OS-WALK-EU, a new open-source walkability assessment tool developed specifically for urban neighbourhoods and using open-source spatial data. A free and open-source tool, OS-WALK-EU is accessible to the general public. It uses open data available worldwide and free online services to compute accessibility, while at the same time allowing users to integrate local datasets if available. Based on a review of existing measurement concepts, the paper adopts dimensions of walkability that were tested in European city environments and explains their conceptualization for software development. We invite the research community to collaboratively test, adopt and use the tool as part of the increasing need to monitor walkability as part of health-promoting urban development.
Methods Tool development is based on spatial analysis methods to compute indicators for five dimensions of walkability: residential density, weighted proximities to amenities, pedestrian radius of activity, share of green and blue infrastructure, and slope. Sample uses in the cities of Dublin, Düsseldorf and Lisbon test the validity of input data and results, including scenarios for target groups like older people.
Results Overall, application of the tool in Dublin, Düsseldorf and Lisbon shows conclusive results that conform to local knowledge. Shortcomings can be attributed to deficiencies in open source input data. Local administrative data, if available, is suitable to improve results.
Conclusions OS-WALK-EU is the first software tool that allows free and open walkability assessments with pedestrian routing capacities for ‘proximity to facilities’ calculations. Large scale implementation for 33 German city regions in an online application shows the value of comparative assessments of walkable neighbourhoods between urban and suburban neighbourhoods. Such assessments are important to monitor progress in a mobility transition towards improved walkability and public health.
Stefan Fina, Christian Gerten, Brian Pondi, Lorraine D'Arcy, Niamh O'Reilly, David Sousa Vale, Mauro Pereira, Samuele Zilio, OS-WALK-EU: An open-source tool to assess health-promoting residential walkability of European city structures, Journal of Transport & Health, Volume 27, 2022, 101486, ISSN 2214-1405, DOI: 10.1016/j.jth.2022.101486.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Civil and Environmental Engineering Commons, Environmental Public Health Commons, Other Public Health Commons
Journal of Transport and Health