The effects of street network configuration and street-level urban design on route-choice behaviour: an analysis of elementary school students walking to/from school in Istanbul

Gorsev Argin, Demet Yesiltepe, Ayse Ozbil Torun

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

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This paper explores the association between the built environment, measured through street network configuration and street-level urban design, and route choice of children walking to/from school. The aim is to understand the extent to which student’s actual route selections correspond with metric shortest routes and the role of spatial factors in explaining route choice in utilitarian walking.

Within this context, randomly selected students (ages 12-14) from five elementary schools in İstanbul, Turkey, were asked to draw their routes walking between home and school. Each student’s route choice was modelled within a GIS database and metrically shortest routes between origins and destinations were identified by using the ‘network analyst’ tool.

Street network configuration of the entire system was evaluated by using angular segment integration and choice analyses implemented in Depthmap as well as metric and directional reach implemented in GIS. Street-level urban design characteristics of the streets, including ground floor attractions, prevalence and width of sidewalks, street-level topography, street width (indicating street hierarchy), and existence of signalling/crossings, were evaluated through detailed field surveys and high quality satellite images.

The preliminary findings of this study imply that the configuration measures of street network may prove to be important variables for the description and modulation of human spatial behaviour in urban environments. More importantly, directional accessibility appears to play an important role as metric accessibility in route choice behaviour. However; the detailed analysis of selected routes indicates that the amount of ground floor attractions as well as certain streetlevel urban design qualities, such as sidewalk width, seem to be related to the preference of certain streets over and above others.

This study contributes to the literature by broadening our understanding of the environmental attributes associated with children’s navigation choices in utilitarian walking. Findings augment the knowledgebase that supports urban navigation by emphasizing the contribution of the spatial structure of the street network and the impacts of urban design qualities of the street environment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 11th International Space Syntax Symposium
PublisherInstituto Superior Técnico - Universidade de Lisboa
ISBN (Print)978-972-98994-4-7
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event11th International Space Syntax Symposium - Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 3 Jul 20177 Jul 2017


Conference11th International Space Syntax Symposium


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