Analyzing Walkability Through Biometrics: Insights Into Sustainable Transportation Through the Use of Eye-Tracking Emulation Software

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: Understanding more about the unseen side of our responses to visual stimuli offers a powerful new tool for transportation planning. Traditional transportation planning tends to focus on the mobility of vehicles rather than on opportunities to encourage sustainable transport modes, like walking. Methods: Using eye-tracking emulation software, this study measured the unconscious visual responses people have to designs and layouts in new built environments, focusing on what makes streets most walkable. Results: The study found key differences between the way the brain takes in conventional automobile-oriented residential developments versus new urbanist layouts, with the former lacking key fixation points. Conclusion: The study’s discoveries significantly explain why new urbanist layouts promote walking effortlessly and conventional automobile-oriented residential developments cannot.

Hollander and Situ are with the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Tufts University, Medford, MA, USA. Sussman is with Human Architecture and Planning Institute, Concord, MA, USA. Lowitt and Angus are with Devens Enterprise Commission, Devens, MA, USA.

Hollander (justin.hollander@tufts.edu) is corresponding author.
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