The Effects of Weather on Walking Rates in Nine Cities

de Montigny, L., Ling, R., & Zacharias, J.

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de Montigny, L., Ling, R., & Zacharias, J. (2011). The effects of weather on walking rates in nine cities. Environment and Behavior, 0013916511409033.

Microclimate , Pedestrians , Public Open Space , Spatial Behavior , Walking Rate , Weather

This study examined whether locally felt weather had a measurable effect on the amount of walking occurring in a given locale, by examining the observed walking rate in relation to air temperature, sunlight, and precipitation. Web- based cameras in nine cities were used to collect 6,255 observations over 7 months. Walking volumes and levels of precipitation and sunlight were cap- tured by visual inspection; air temperature was obtained from local meteo- rological stations. A quasi-Poisson regression model to test the relationship between counts of pedestrians and weather conditions revealed that all three weather variables had significant associations with fluctuations in volumes of pedestrians, when controlling for city and elapsed time. A 5°C increase in temperature was associated with a 14% increase in pedestrians. A shift from snow to dry conditions was associated with an increase of 23%, and a 5% increase in sunlit area was associated with a 2% increase.

Main finding
Weather does affect rates of walking. This study in nine cities demonstrate that precipitation followed by sunlight and temperatures significantly affect walking rates. Physical design interventions such as surface conditions and microclimatic manipulation can help to increase rates of walking.

Description of method used in the article
Web-based cameras were installed in nine cities on a section on walking environment. The cameras recorded the number of people walking. Also meteorological measurements were recorded.

Of practical use

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