Case Studies
Stefan van der Spek
Delft University of Technology (Netherlands)
Published in
Submitted by
Peter Midgley, gTKP
Related theme(s)
Urban Mobility
Europe (EU)

Measuring & Observing Pedestrian Activity

In June and October 2007 pedestrians visiting the historic city centres of Norwich, Rouen and Koblenz were monitored. In total over 1300 pedestrians were observed using GPS technology. With a questionnaire we were
able to collect additional information about the visitor.

TU Delft, Department of Urbanism is partner in the European Union funded project “Spatial Metro” or City on Foot”. The goal of Spatial Metro is to improve city centres for pedestrians. Particularly for this project TU Delft has developed methods to observe and evaluate visitor experiences (Spek, 2007; http://www.spatialmetro.org).

Field work

TU Delft carried out field work for one week in each city. The GPS devices were distributed to shoppers during the day on two locations: both multi-layered parking facilities, one of them a shopping mall. The field work resulted in incredible insight in pedestrian behaviour. The visualisation of individual tracks into collective images shows the flows and densities of use. It highlights weak and strong places, vital and insignificant links in the urban tissue. With the questionnaire data it was possible to distinguish different kinds of uses based on origin, purpose, familiarity and duration, and on personal characteristics such as age, gender and group. The results of the field work show that GPS is a powerful tool to observe and visualise pedestrian behaviour on the scale of the (inner) city.