‘Walk-quality’ improvement project gets ARC funding

A melbourne laneway with pedestrians.

With 60 per cent of Australians not meeting recommended physical activity targets this is an important project for Australia’s future.

A Swinburne-led project to improve the ‘walk-quality’ of urban areas has been awarded a $394,077 Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Grant.

The cross-disciplinary study, led by Swinburne Professor of Urban Design Marcus White, will involve designing a platform that can evaluate urban areas using sophisticated data analysis to improve them for pedestrians now and into the future.

The platform will consider key ‘walk-quality’ urban design factors, including pedestrian accessibility, slope, thermal comfort, pedestrian risk and pollution.

“With 60 per cent of Australians not meeting recommended physical activity targets and costing taxpayers billions of dollars annually, this project will develop design tools to help prioritise urgently needed active transport infrastructure investment,” says Professor White.

“Walking should be something that is safe, convenient, comfortable and inclusive for everyone.”

Designing for pedestrians

The project builds on Professor White’s previous research into urban design for walking, extending the use of his PedestrianCatch.com tool – a free pedestrian accessibility modelling tool that calculates walkable catchments.

“Our anticipated walk-quality improvements to the built environment have the potential to significantly benefit communities.”

PedestrianCatch.com is a free pedestrian accessibility modelling tool that calculates walkable catchments.

Collaborating for good

The Swinburne team also includes Director of the Centre for Urban Transitions, Professor Niki Frantzeskaki, along with partners from University of Melbourne, TAC, Glen Eira Council, movendo engineering consultancy, Maribyrnong Council and VicRoads.

“This project brings my design, technology and professional practice experience as an architect and urban designer research together with a host of cross-disciplinary experts,” says Professor White.

Research will be conducted at Swinburne’s iHUB facility, which is finded by ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) scheme . The iHUB is a scalable, state-of-the-art, multi-layered networked facility for cross-disciplinary research-practice collaboration where urban-development experts share knowledge on how to create better cities.

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