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Built environment determinants of pedestrians’ and bicyclists’ route choices on commute trips: Applying a new grid-based method for measuring the built environment along the route

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-69
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


To better understand the role of the built environment in route choices among pedestrians and bicyclists, this study explores the built environment distribution along commute routes in two neighbourhoods in Tampere, Finland. A new grid-based method is developed to enable a more sophisticated analysis of the built environment along the route. The data consist of 73 commute routes collected with the Sports Tracker® smartphone application, of which 18 are made by foot and 55 by bicycle. To find the most relevant spatial scale, the values of each built environment variable are calculated with five buffer sizes for each cell of the grid covering the research area. Five statistics describing the distribution of the built environmental variables along each shortest and actual route are then calculated and compared. The results show that besides determining whether a significant association is found, different spatial scales for the analysis produce dissimilar findings in strength and even the direction of the correlations found. The most significant associations are found mainly with the smallest buffer (15m). Of the five built environment statistics calculated, the mean value of most built environmental variables had the most consistent correlation with route choice. Also, standard deviation and the third quartile of several built environmental variables along the routes correlate with route choice. The most significant associations with route choice are found with intersection density, institutional land use, slope, and age of buildings.


  • Active transport, built environment, commute, GIS, GPS, route choice

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland