Creating a South African walkability audit tool to guide the planning of pedestrian friendly spaces
Van der Walt, Christopher Martin
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Walkable cities and the quality of the walking environment has become an important issue in planning and design, substantiated by the health agenda on the one hand and the green agenda and emphasis on non-motorised transportation opportunities on the other hand. The reality in South Africa suggests that walking is one of the most important modes of transportation, as it comprises 20.4% of the population's daily mode of transportation to work. However, in most cases, there are inadequate infrastructure, knowledge and guidelines to support walkability, let alone enhance walking as a mode of transportation. Studies illustrated that higher levels of physical activity were found in areas where well-planned sidewalks were present, suggesting a correlation between infrastructure provided in the built environment and walking as a chosen mode of transportation. This research, therefore, considered walkability and the planning of pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, specifically relating to design, accessibility and safety of such infrastructure. It reflected on existing walkability audit tools and a local case study to conclude on the challenges and opportunities of walkability in South Africa, and how spatial planning can contribute to creating walkable cities. The research recommends a walkability audit tool to help guide the planning of pedestrian-friendly spaces within a South African context.