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Factors explaining perceptions of street quality and propensity to use urban streets

Lu, Z; Zhang, J; Anciaes, P; Jones, P; (2022) Factors explaining perceptions of street quality and propensity to use urban streets. In: Proceedings of the 20th Annual Transport Practitioners Meeting. PTRC: London, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

PROJECT IDEA: Many authorities are investing in street improvements to support their local high streets. However, there is still little knowledge on the attributes that influence people’s perceptions of street quality and increase their propensity to use those streets. PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES: We used two sets of data for 80 high streets in London: The Healthy Streets survey of self-rated perceptions of 13 aspects of street quality: attractive, enjoyable, clean air, not too noisy, easy to cross, places to sit/rest, shelter, safe from crime, intimidated by traffic, green spaces, pavement quality, good to walk, good to cycle. 2) Primary data measuring 43 objective aspects of street quality (on traffic, noise, air pollution, crime, collisions, land use, street design, and infrastructure for pedestrians, cyclists, and bus users) We used regression models to test associations between: 1) perceptions and objective indicators of street quality 2) perceptions of street quality and pedestrian flows. Models controlled for other characteristics of the streets and surrounding area FINDINGS AND ORIGINALITY: “Good to walk”, “Good to cycle” and “Intimidated by traffic” were the perceptions best explained by objective indicators. Pavement quality was the indicator associated with most positive perceptions. Conversely, density and type of crossings, and traffic speed, were not associated with any perception. In most cases, associations indicate consistency between perceptions and objective indicators (e.g. perception of green space vs. density of trees). Pedestrian flows were significantly associated with the overall perceived attractiveness of the street, ease of crossing the road and public transport accessibility. However, significance and magnitude of associations differed by age and gender. CONCLUSIONS AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS: Street quality is appreciated by street users and influences pedestrian behaviour. Improving street quality, especially the attributes with the strongest associations with perceptions and behaviour, is vital to promote high street vitality, sustainable transport and healthy cities.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Factors explaining perceptions of street quality and propensity to use urban streets
Event: 20th Annual Transport Practitioners Meeting
Location: Greenwich, London
Dates: 29 Jun 2022 - 30 Jun 2022
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://transportconference.co.uk/
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: health, perceptions, streets, wellbeing
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10168625
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