ADB, CAI-Asia Reports Walkability Assessment in 13 Asian Cities

The poor state of pedestrian facilities in some Asian cities was highlighted in the information given by the Asian Development Bank and the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities. Ironically, the lowest walkability ratings are found to be along public transport terminals and schools where footpaths, pedestrian amenities and access for persons-with-disabilities are lacking.

Commercial areas get the highest walkability rating followed by residential areas.  The walkability ratings were derived from field surveys where pedestrian facilities and the general walking environment were evaluated. Cities included in the survey are Cebu, Davao and Manila (Philippines), Colombo (Sri Lanka), Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam), Hong Kong and Lanzhou (China), Jakarta (Indonesia), Karachi (Pakistan), Kathmandu (Nepal), Kota (India) and Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia).

 The average walkability rating for the 13 cities was 58 out of 100.

Improving walkability and pedestrian facilities is one of the less prioritized measures for sustainable urban transport by policymakers and development organizations. The Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities Center with support from the Asian Development Bank and the Fredkorpset conducted walkability surveys in various Asian cities to better understand the state of walkability in Asian cities.

The survey used a methodology based on the Global Walkability Index developed by the World Bank, which includes a field walkability survey, pedestrian preference survey and a government policy and institutional survey. The survey provides an overview of the current pedestrian infrastructure and policies in selected cities and will be used to develop and propose pedestrian focused solutions for Asian cities. The "walkability
index" can help raise awareness and generate interest among policy makers and city officials and help them improve walking in their cities.

 “A sad fact is that there is a wide gap between investments made by cities for pedestrians and for motorized vehicles. Asian cities have traditionally been cities of walkers. If pedestrian facilities are more integrated and made comfortable, more people will choose to walk instead of drive resulting to less fuel consumption and less air pollution,” says Bert Fabian, Transport Program Manager of the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities.

 Jamie Leather, ADB Principal Transport Specialist, expressed that the walkability study supports ADB’s Sustainable Transport Initiative as well as the Decade of Action for Road Safety.

The pedestrian facilities were surveyed by taking into account nine different aspects of walkability, including safety, amenities and disability access. Out of the 4,600 pedestrians interviewed, 41% states that sidewalks are in a bad state and strongly prefer making sidewalks cleaner and pedestrian crossings safer as priority areas for improvement.

The 37% of the survey respondents primarily walk to reach their destination and 30% travel less than three km and another 21% travel within 3-6 km.

The Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities has conducted walkability surveys in 21 Asian cities to date with support from the Asian Development Bank and Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation.

About CAI-Asia

The Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia) promotes better air quality and livable cities by translating knowledge to policies and actions that reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from transport, energy and other sectors. It was established in 2001 by ADB, the World Bank and USAID as part of a global initiative that also includes Latin America and Sub Saharan Africa. Since 2007, this multi-stakeholder initiative is a registered UN Type II Partnership with more than 200 organizational members and eight Country Networks. The secretariat of the CAI-Asia Partnership is the CAI-Asia Center, a non-profit organization, with headquarters in Manila, Philippines and offices in Beijing, China and Delhi, India.

Source: CAI-Asia
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