Investigating Built Environment Indicators to Develop a Local Walkability Index




Local Walkability Index, Pedestrian Walking Behaviour, Urban Design, Mixed-use Street, Cairo


Many studies have been conducted over the last 20 years to determine and measure factors that affect the walkability of city streets. Walkability is an essential factor in deciding whether a city is green or sustainable. This paper creates a comprehensive walkability index by analysing built environmental indicators that affect walkability. This research was conducted on mixed land use streets in Cairo, Egypt, combining the results from an online survey and a walkability assessment model developed by multi-criteria decision analysis techniques. The results were based on a three-pillar approach starting with the theoretical background to frame the walkability indicator, numerical assessment over the Egyptian cases using a multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) technique and a qualitative user perception survey. Our results confirm that determining to what extent Cairo’s streets are walkable is crucial to enhancing pedestrians’ perceptions of the walking environment. Furthermore, the results illustrated the essential factors within the built environment indicators that influence pedestrian walking behaviour.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

B.Sc. Menna Tarek, Ain Shams University, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo, Egypt

Tarek is an experienced Teaching Assistant with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry for 4 years. She is skilled in Architectural Programs, Manual Rendering, Urban Planning, and Communication. She is currently working on her Master of Science from the postgraduate program in Ain shams university faculty of Engineering. She also participated in an international cooperation project and workshop with Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary in the field of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape. She is a strong research professional with a bachelor’s degree focused in Landscape Architecture from Ain Shams University. She can be reached at:

Honours And Awards: 2018 Third Prize in the competition of the National Organization of Urban Harmony, NOUH about Landscaping of the New Capital Squares, 2018.

Prof. Dr. Ghada Farouk Hassan, Ain Shams University, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo, Egypt

Academic Rank

Since April 2012 she is a Professor of Urban Design and Planning at Ain Shams University and head of the department of urban planning and design and member of the Higher Committee of Promoting Professors. She was formerly Head of the Department of Architecture at the Faculty of engineering, French University of Egypt. In addition, she had been General Manager of the Technical Office at the General Organization of physical planning, GOPP, Ministry of Housing Utilities and Urban Community for 6 years since 2006

Teaching and Training Activities: She is Responsible for the following courses: Urban ecology, and Environmental Planning for the ungraduated level, Eco Urban design, and Landscape planning for the Post Graduate level at the IUSD. She has been conducting and preparing TOT courses in urban planning, participatory process, and experiences, strategic planning in urban development to Iraqi relatives through the Iraq program sponsored by UN-HABITAT, and she was Trainer for Slum Upgrading and gender issues for Iraqis technical staff (localities) in June 2005 conducted by UN and ministry of housing and urban settlements and infrastructure

Professional Experience: She was leading the National Project for Mapping Needs as a new approach for integrating social, economic, and environmental dimensions in demarcating unplanned areas in the Cities of Egypt. Also participating in the inventory and the surveys and the classification for unsafe areas in Egypt as a consultant at ISDF (Informal Settlement Development Funds). Moreover, she was Participating in several development projects in Saudi Arabia such as the coastal development of Half Moon Beach and the landscape of the KAND project as a leading consultant at BECT firm. In Addition, she was the leader of teams in the following responsibility: Participating in the preparation of the strategic urban development plan (SUP) of 50 cities, managed by UN-Habitat as a team leader and urban planner; Evaluating (recruited by UNDP) the project of Participatory Slum Upgrading in El-Hallous and El-Bahtini, Governorate of Ismailia – Ismailia City and Markaz – El-Hallous and El-Bahtini and in assessing experience, extract best practice and lesson learned; Managing a research action-oriented project titled “the National Program for the Development of Rural Strategic Plans" sponsored by the General Organization for Physical Planning with technical cooperation from UN-HABITAT in over 500 Egyptian villages as a contribution to the implementation of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); and adapting of the UN-HABITAT Urban Sector Profile Study tools to be used in the context of the Egyptian village as the expert to the GOPP. This included the development of tools for the implementation of the study at the village level. As a team member in the program

Honours And Awards: 2018 First Prize in the competition of the National Organization of Urban Harmony, NOUH about Landscaping of the New Capital Squares, 2018

Publications are mainly the field of Urban Ecology, Landscaping, Housing, Slum Upgrading, Regenerative Approach and Strategic Planning, She has more than 10 articles published in scientific journals, and she had been organized and participate in more than 14 conferences, either local or international, and she had published one book. H-Index 3, Citation 34 (Scopus May 2021) H-index 5 citation 158 (google scholar May 2021).

Prof. Dr. Abeer Elshater, Ain Shams University, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo, Egypt

topics in the ideology of urban design. She is a personal investigator to a funded research project (STDF Basic & Applied Research Grants (STDF-BARG 37234) by Science, Technology, and Innovation Funding Authority (STDF) about urban heat islands and urban forms. Elshater has also worked on some international research projects with international universities. She also is co-editor, author and co-author of several books and scientific manuscripts. Currently, Elshater acts as an ambassador of the Regional Studies Association, United Kingdom (UK). She can be reached at:

Dr. Mohamed Elfayoumi, Ain Shams University, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo, Egypt

Dr. Fayoumi has a major interest in Architecture, urban design and landscaping design approaches, added to it the interactions between the urban field and that of traffic, transportation, and roads design. Dr. Fayoumi has been teaching and supervising multidisciplinary topics, both undergraduate and postgraduate, at Ain Shams University since 1999 and is currently an Associate Professor at the Department of Urban Design and Planning. Also, he has many positions upon the faculty as Assistant of Vice Dean, Unit Head & Academic Coordinator of Landscape Architecture Program, was the Manager of Consultancy Unit for Planning & Urban Design and is a member in its board committee. He is the academic coordinator of Ezbet Research Project from ASU (Ain Shams University)- With Stuttgart University. Additionally, he has participated in and coordinated several international cooperation projects and workshops with Universities in Germany, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Hungary, and France in the field of Architecture, Landscape, urban design, transportation and traffic.

Fields of Interests:

  • Architecture, Urban Design and Landscaping.
  • Informal Settlement Development.
  • Participatory planning.
  • Urban dynamics & Development.
  • Participatory Needs Assessment
  • Sustainable Urban Transportation and Mobility.


Abedo, M., Salheen, M., & Elshater, A. (2020). The Dawn of Walkability. In Humanizing Cities Through Car-Free City Development and Transformation (pp. 98-114). IGI Global.

Abusaada, H., & Elshater, A. (2021a). Revealing distinguishing factors between Space and Place in urban design literature. Journal of Urban Design, 26(3), 319-340.

Abusaada, H., & Elshater, A. (2021b). Effect of people on placemaking and affective atmospheres in city streets. Ain Shams Engineering Journal.

Abusaada, H., Vellguth, C., & Elshater, A. (2019). Handbook of Research on Digital Research Methods and Architectural Tools in Urban Planning and Design. IGI Global.

Aghaabbasi, M., Moeinaddini, M., Zaly Shah, M., & Asadi-Shekari, Z. (2017). A new assessment model to evaluate the microscale sidewalk design factors at the neighbourhood level. Journal of Transport & Health, 5, 97-112.

Al-shabeeb, A. R. R. (2015). A modified analytical hierarchy process method to select sites for groundwater recharge in Jordan University of Leicester, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)].

Alawadi, K., Hernandez Striedinger, V., Maghelal, P., & Khanal, A. (2021). Assessing walkability in hot arid regions: the case of downtown Abu Dhabi. URBAN DESIGN International, 1-21.

Albers, P. N., Wright, C., & Olwoch, J. (2010). Developing a South African pedestrian environment assessment tool: Tshwane case study. South African Journal of Science, 106(9), 1-8.

Alfonzo, M. A. (2005). To Walk or Not to Walk? The Hierarchy of Walking Needs. Environment and Behavior, 37(6), 808-836.

Arellana, J., Alvarez, V., Oviedo, D., & Guzman, L. A. (2021). Walk this way: Pedestrian accessibility and equity in Barranquilla and Soledad, Colombia. Research in Transportation Economics, 86, 101024.

Arellana, J., Saltarín, M., Larrañaga, A. M., Alvarez, V., & Henao, C. A. (2020). Urban walkability considering pedestrians’ perceptions of the built environment: a 10-year review and a case study in a medium-sized city in Latin America. Transport Reviews, 40(2), 183-203.

Balsas, C. J. L. (2021). Exciting walk-only precincts in Asia, Europe and North-America. Cities, 112, 1-13.

Banister, D. (2007). SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES. Transportmetrica, 3(2), 91-106.

Batista e Silva, J., da Graça Saraiva, M., Loupa Ramos, I., & Bernardo, F. (2013). Improving Visual Attractiveness to Enhance City–River Integration—A Methodological Approach for Ongoing Evaluation. Planning Practice & Research, 28(2), 163-185.

Boarnet, M. G., Day, K., Alfonzo, M., Forsyth, A., & Oakes, M. (2006). The Irvine–Minnesota Inventory to Measure Built Environments: Reliability Tests. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 30(2), 153-159.e143.

Capitanio, M. (2019). Attractive streetscape making pedestrians walk longer routes: The case of Kunitachi in Tokyo. Journal of Architecture and Urbanism, 43(2), 131-137.

Caymaz, G. F. Y. (2019). The effects of built environment landscaping on site security: reviews on selected shopping centers in İstanbul. Journal Of Contemporary Urban Affairs, 3(1), 191-201.

Cervero, R., & Kockelman, K. (1997). Travel demand and the 3Ds: Density, diversity, and design. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 2(3), 199-219.

Chapman, J., & Olson, J. (2017). Calgary's Pedestrian Strategy: Inception to Implementation (breakout presentation). Journal of Transport & Health, 7, S35.

Clifton, K. J., Livi Smith, A. D., & Rodriguez, D. (2007). The development and testing of an audit for the pedestrian environment. Landscape and Urban Planning, 80(1), 95-110.

Cortina, J. M. (1993). What is coefficient alpha? An examination of theory and applications. Journal of applied psychology, 78(1), 98–104.

Department of Public Health. (2008). The Pedestrian Environmental Quality Index (PEQI): An assessment of the physical condition of streets and intersections. San Francisco: Program on Health, Equity, and Sustainability Urban Health and Place Team Department.

Dill, J. (2004). Measuring network connectivity for bicycling and walking In 83rd annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC. TRB 2004 Annual Meeting CD-ROM,

El Helou, M. A. (2019). Shaping the city that decreases overweight and obesity through healthy built environment. Journal Of Contemporary Urban Affairs, 3(2), 16-27.

Elshater, A. (2019). The Predicament of Post-Displacement Amidst Historical Sites: A Design-based Correlation Between People and Place. Heritage & Society, 12(2-3), 85-115.

Elshater, A. (2020). Food consumption in the everyday life of liveable cities: design implications for conviviality. Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability, 13(1), 68-96.

Elshater, A., Abusaada, H., & Afifi, S. (2019). What makes livable cities of today alike? Revisiting the criterion of singularity through two case studies. Cities, 92, 273-291.

Evenson, K. R., Sotres-Alvarez, D., Herring, A. H., Messer, L., Laraia, B. A., & Rodríguez, D. A. (2009). Assessing urban and rural neighborhood characteristics using audit and GIS data: derivation and reliability of constructs. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 6(1), 44.

Ewing, R., Greenwald, M., Zhang, M., Walters, J., Feldman, M., Cervero, R., Frank, L., & Thomas, J. (2011). Traffic generated by mixed-use developments—six-region study using consistent built environmental measures. Journal of Urban Planning and Development, 137(3), 248-261.

Ewing, R., & Handy, S. (2009). Measuring the Unmeasurable: Urban Design Qualities Related to Walkability. Journal of Urban Design, 14(1), 65-84.

Ferrer, S., Ruiz, T., & Mars, L. (2015). A qualitative study on the role of the built environment for short walking trips. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 33, 141-160.

Forsyth, A. (2015). What is a walkable place? The walkability debate in urban design. URBAN DESIGN International, 20(4), 274-292.

Forsyth, A. N. N., & Southworth, M. (2008). Cities Afoot—Pedestrians, Walkability and Urban Design. Journal of Urban Design, 13(1), 1-3.

Gallin, N. (2001). Quantifying pedestrian friendliness--guidelines for assessing pedestrian level of service. Road & Transport Research, 10(1), 47-55.

Hussein, N. (2018). The pedestrianisation and its relation with enhancing walkability in urban spaces. Journal Of Contemporary Urban Affairs, 2(1), 102-112.

Iroz-Elardo, N., Adkins, A., & Ingram, M. (2021). Measuring perceptions of social environments for walking: A scoping review of walkability surveys. Health & Place, 67, 102468.

Krajnc, D., & Glavič, P. (2005). A model for integrated assessment of sustainable development. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 43(2), 189-208.

Krambeck, H. V. (2006). The Global Walkability Index. Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Leslie, E., Coffee, N., Frank, L., Owen, N., Bauman, A., & Hugo, G. (2007). Walkability of local communities: Using geographic information systems to objectively assess relevant environmental attributes. Health & Place, 13(1), 111-122.

Lo, R. H. (2009). Walkability: what is it? Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability, 2(2), 145-166.

Lopez, M. C. R., Toan, T. D., & Wong, Y. D. (2020). Transitioning Different Stages of Transport Planning in Urban Areas: Experiences of Singapore and Vietnam. In CIGOS 2019, Innovation for Sustainable Infrastructure (pp. 953-958). Springer.

Lu, Y., Xiao, Y., & Ye, Y. (2017). Urban density, diversity and design: Is more always better for walking? A study from Hong Kong. Preventive Medicine, 103, S99-S103.

Nardo, M., Saisana, M., Saltelli, A., & Tarantola, S. (2005). Tools for composite indicators building. Ispra: Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen.

Newman, P., & Kenworthy, J. (2006). Urban Design to Reduce Automobile Dependence. Opolis: An International Journal of Suburban and Metropolitan Studies, 2(1), 35-52.

OECD, European Union, & - European Commission, Joint Research C. (2008). Handbook on Constructing Composite Indicators: Methodology and User Guide. OECD Publishing.

Pucher, J., & Buehler, R. (2010). Walking and cycling for healthy cities. Built environment, 36(4), 391-414.

Refaat, H., & Kafafy, N. (2014). Approaches and lessons for enhancing walkability in cities: a landscape conceptual solution for Talaat Harb Street, Cairo. International Journal of Education and Research, 2(6), 301-322.

Reisi, M., Nadoushan, M. A., & Aye, L. (2019). Local walkability index: assessing built environment influence on walking. Bulletin of Geography. Socio-economic Series, 46(46), 7 - 21.

Rojas López, M. C., & Wong, Y. D. (2019). Process and determinants of mobility decisions – A holistic and dynamic travel behaviour framework. Travel Behaviour and Society, 17, 120-129.

Saaty, T. (1979). The Analytic Hierarchy Process: Planning, Priority Setting, Resource Allocation (Decision Making Series).

Shaaban, K. (2019). Assessing Sidewalk and Corridor Walkability in Developing Countries. Sustainability, 11(14), 3865.

Shaftoe, H. (2008). Convivial Urban Spaces Creating Effective Public Places (1st ed.). London: Earthscan.

Sivam, A., Karuppannan, S., Koohsari, M. J., & Sivam, A. (2012). Does urban design influence physical activity in the reduction of obesity? A review of evidence. The Open Urban Studies Journal, 5(1), 14-21.

Soba, M., Ersoy, Y., Tarakcioğlu Altınay, A., Erkan, B., & Şik, E. (2020). Application of Multiple Criteria Decision-Making Methods in Assignment Place Selection. Mathematical Problems in Engineering, 2020, 1-12.

Southworth, M. (2005). Designing the walkable city. Journal of Urban Planning and Development, 131(4), 246-257.

Transport for London. (2004). Making London a walkable city: The walking plan for London. London.

Un-Habitat. (2013). Planning and Design for Sustainable Urban Mobility: Global Report on Human Settlements 2013. New York: UN Habitat.

Wahba, S., Kamel, B., Kandil, A., & Fadda, N. (2020). Pedestrian mall as an enabler to enhance street life and promote walkability in downtown cairo. Journal of Engineering and Applied Science, 67(3), 565-584.

Zayed, M. A. A. (2016). The effect of landscape elements on walkability in Egyptian gated communities. Archnet-IJAR, Archnet International Journal of Architectural Research, 10(2), 113-129.



How to Cite

Tarek, M., Hassan, G. F., Elshater, A., & Elfayoumi, M. (2021). Investigating Built Environment Indicators to Develop a Local Walkability Index. Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs, 5(2), 235–251.



Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities