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Pedestrian accessibility and mobility environment laboratory

Childs, C; Fujiyama, T; Brown, I; Tyler, N; (2005) Pedestrian accessibility and mobility environment laboratory. In: (Proceedings) Walk21-VI ?Everyday Walking Culture?, The 6th International Conference on Walking in the 21st Century. : Zurich.

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Abstract

To improve accessibility in the pedestrian environment, we need to understand better the nature of that environment and how people interact with it. We can consider anyone carrying out an activity in the pedestrian environment as creating a ?journey chain? for the activity. This chain could be as simple as ?leave house; walk to local shops; return to house?. In this case, the individual ?links? of the ?chain? could arise in streets that the person walks down, doorways into the required shops, and the layout of each shop. The journey could fail if any single link were to fail. For example, the journey would fail if there were a crossing over a busy road with no light control and the person could not walk fast enough, nor was agile enough to miss the oncoming vehicles. From this definition of a ?journey chain?, a person could be classed as disabled if they encounter barriers in the environment that prevent full and active participation as a citizen. In addition, the numbers of disabled and elderly people are increasing across the developed world. It should be an aim for full accessibility for such disabled people across the pedestrian environment and to do this we need to understand more about how people interact with this environment.We can try to improve our understanding of how people move in pedestrian environments by measuring movement in existing environments. However, it is difficult to separate the effects of the pedestrian environment from external factors, such as location, social interactions, local activities and, not least, safety constraints. Therefore we need a test environment that allows us to change elements in a repeatable controlled manner. Such a laboratory has been constructed: the Pedestrian Accessibility and Mobility Environment Laboratory (PAMELa). This paper describes the PAMELa laboratory and explains how it can help people wishing to enhance pedestrian facilities. The laboratory consists of a modular platform; allowing control over layout (floor plan), topography (steps/gradients, street furniture, surface material and wetness); lighting; and sound systems. The lighting system allows control over luminescencefrom daylight to darkness, including localised lighting: for example streetlights. The surround sound system will give control over location and timing of sounds: for example, cars driving along a street, cars approaching and stopping at a crossing, pedestrian noise (talking and walking), trains going through a station whilst announcements are made. This laboratory allows measurement of people?s movement within a safe and carefully controlled environment. Existing and planned environments can be tested giving direct information on their accessibility. In addition, the results of all tests can be used to inform pedestrian simulation models. Some brief illustrative examples will be given.

Type:Proceedings paper
Title:Pedestrian accessibility and mobility environment laboratory
Event:Walk21-VI ?Everyday Walking Culture?, The 6th International Conference on Walking in the 21st Century
Additional information:Imported via OAI, 7:29:01 3rd Dec 2005
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering

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