Walking has a great importance in our everyday lives and it has an important role in preventing obesity and enhancing the physical health of the society, reducing the traffic, decreasing the air and noise pollution, and generally in improving the quality of our life. In the last decade, there is growing interest in understanding the relationship between characteristics of the built environment on walking. One of the reasons for people’s unwillingness to walk is the lack of suitable and attractive pathways for walking. Although, the main stated goal of the municipality of most Asian cities including Tehran is to encouraging walking, but the quality of the pathways discourages walking. A range of methodologies has been developed in the literature to assess the walkability. Two types of these indicators include Walkability-Index (WAI) and Walk Score have been used intensively in developed countries to evaluate walkability.
This study aimed to do a spatial multi-criteria evaluation of walkability of pathways based on a number of urban planning indices. For this purpose, an integrated method based on geospatial information science (GIS), remote sensing (RS) and multi-criteria analysis, specifically AHP and TOPSIS, is used. Fifth spatial criteria are considered: connectivity with other passages, access to public transport infrastructure, land use mixed, density of the residential parcels and greenness level. The importance of criteria is determined based on the preferences of both urban planning experts and citizens. In both groups, the connectivity and residential density factors had the smallest importance. The existence of varied land uses and accessibility to transportation systems received the greatest importance, respectively.
The proposed approach is implemented for the districts number 2 and 7 of region number 1 of Tehran municipality. After doing the required analysis and implementing the model in the studying area, based on experts’ view, Valiasr, Darakeh and Rashidoddin Fazlollah among the main streets and Daneshju, Karami and Alborzkuh among the second level streets were indicated as the streets with high walkability potential. Based on citizens' opinion, Valiasr, Evin and Darakeh among the main streets, Daneshju, Karami and Sharifimanesh among the second level streets have the highest walkability potential. The availability of transportation infrastructures and greenness in the neighborhoods received the highest scores in the case study area.
According to the results of this research, different passages can be evaluated from the perspective of these criteria, and improvement of passages’ walkability potential can be planned for the future; Also, according to the results, the passages which need more improvements and have the higher priority can be recognized. Based on the results of this study, urban planners can evaluate the walkability potential in street segment scale. A possible extension includes investigating the relation between actual walkability in the case study area and walkability based on the proposed method. We acknowledge the limitations of using road centerlines instead of sidewalks, but this data was not available for Tehran.