Digital Walkability Audit Tool

Digital Walkability Audit Tool

The project involved conversion of the State Government's Walkability Audit Tool into a user-friendly, digital version for use on iPads. Proof-of-concept demonstrates the benefits of a paperless tool for improving urban network planning.

Ryan Falconer, Perth, Australia

In 2011 and 2012, the State Government of Western Australia distilled numerous sets of pedestrian design standards and guidelines to create a paper-based pedestrian network audit tool. The purpose of the tool was to equip network designers and planners - especially in local government - with means to vet both their existing infrastructure and development proposals, to make sure that the five 'Cs' (conspicuousness, ) of walkability were being met. The benefits of the tool - summarising many separate standards and guidelines, and providing users with a benchmark for evaluation - were offset by its cumbersome nature and labour-intensive process of application. Users would have to flick between advisory material and different evaluative worksheets while vetting infrastructure, and then make sense of large data when drawing up recommendations. In 2012 and 2013, Arup helped to address these issues through a commission funded by the Department of Transport and Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia: digitisation of the tool. The project involved translating the paper-based tool into a digital application for the iPad. The proof-of-concept work created a user-friendly App with one-touch links to reference material and a tab-based format that the user could navigate easily. The App integrated Web-based functionality, allowing mapping of routes while out in the field and geo-location of audit data. Moreover, the user could generate output spreadsheets in .csv format for export to desktop for later review. Arup's work culminated in a stakeholder demonstration and field-trial and the Department of Transport procured a set of iPads with the App installed. Future work could draw on the mobile functionality of the iPad to permit crowd-sourced inputs to a walkability audit and through WiFi, the potential addition of pedestrian density data to the overall audit process (e.g. to identify priority areas for infrastructure investment).

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