The poor state of pedestrian facilities in some Asian cities was highlighted in the report published 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 sorely 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 assessed.
The average walkability rating for the 13 cities was 58 out of 100.
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).
“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 strongly prefer making sidewalks cleaner and pedestrian crossings safer as priority areas for improvement.
Thirty seven percent of the survey respondents primarily walk to reach their destination and 30% travel less than 3 km and another 21% travel within 3-6 km.
The walkability study also provides an assessment of the current policies and institutions relating to pedestrians and walking environments in the cities, including discussions and interviews with government representatives.
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.
Download the Walkability and Pedestrian Facilities in Asian Cities State and Issues report here.