Walkability Index: A Study to Establish Indicators and Assess the Potential to Promote Pedestrian Traffic in Greater Bangkok

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Niramon Serisakul
Adisak Guntamueanglee


Mobility by foot is a key feature of a livable city. The Greater Bangkok (GB) is among the fastest growing urban regions in Southeast Asia. Over the past two decades, the city has invested heavily in the development of rail public transport to connect Bangkok and its suburban areas. Therefore, the city needs to develop a physical environment that allows people to travel freely on foot. However, it was found that the physical environment that promotes foot traffic in the context of the GM has not been systematically studied. This led to the main question of the research on How much potential is there for Bangkok and its suburbs to develop into a city that supports pedestrians? This research article therefore aims to establish indicators and assess the potential to promote pedestrian traffic of the GM by using a quantitative method to analyze the factors and indicators of urban potential with spatial data analysis techniques in combination with graphic information systems which takes into account the physical factors of the city through the walking network and the city's public amenities that support walking.

         The results of the study found that, overall, the GB has a very limited area that is pedestrian-friendly, accounting for only 4% of the total area. Further, over 78% of the areas that are walkable are within the Bangkok city limits; the remainder are distributed in the commercial centers of the suburban provinces adjacent to Bangkok. This study found that the historic centers of commerce in the inner city, the central business district in Bangkok, suburban commercial centers, the nodes along the rail mass transit system, and transit stations of Bangkok contain the most walkable portions of the GB region. These areas have the highest potential to be regenerated into a compact, livable zone in order to promote the utilization of rail mass transit and support walking in everyday life. These are strategic areas that deserve further in-depth study on the quality of a pedestrian environment that makes it easy, safe, and pleasant to walk in. As noted, the areas on the periphery of the city, such as suburban communities and the outskirts of Bangkok have low walkability scores. For these areas, a more realistic strategy is to develop the secondary infrastructure and feeder system to and from residential areas to link them to mass transit and public amenities of the city. That would be an interim approach to optimize commuter movement until those areas can become more walkable. The findings from this research are expected to be used as a starting point for further study on environmental and infrastructure issues that promote walking in the GB region and other cities in Thailand.


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