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Title: An exploration and a participatory study toolkit: identifying the relationship between pavements and older pedestrians
Authors: Yin, Lulu
Advisors: Pei, E
Lam, B
Keywords: Footway;Sidewalk;Gait pattern;Travel behaviour;Co-design
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: Walking is the most regular activity for older people to keep healthy and is a popular means of transport for seniors doing their daily errands. Pedestrian pavements play an important role regarding the quality of walking among older people, whereas poorly designed or badly maintained pavements may pose challenges to walking. An empirical study was conducted in London with 41 senior residents aged 60 and over. It aimed to identify hazardous factors of the pavement, explore the behavioural and physical impact of pavement hazards on older people and gather the elders’ requirements for improving the pavement. A mix of qualitative methods and quantitative methods collaborating interviews, observations, cultural probe, and questionnaires were used to collect data. Qualitative analysis encompassing transcription, coding, and categorising and statistical analysis, assisted by the use of software, were applied to examine the data. The study outcomes show that hazardous pavement factors were made up of poor pavement conditions and pavement obstructions categorising broken conditions, uneven surfaces, narrow pavements, slippery obstacles, parked vehicles, overgrown plants, and so on. These factors could increase the risk of falling to the participants, cause physical burdens to the participants and limit their walking and view. The participants had to adapt their walking behaviour or gait patterns to avoid the hazardous factors. For example, they often adopted cautious steps, walked slowly, stepped aside, gave way to other people, adjusted their pace, or stopped walking to mitigate the walking risk caused by pavement hazards. Regarding minimising those accident-prone conditions and creating a safe and comfortable walking environment for older pedestrians, the participants came up with suggestions for improving the pavement. Wide and flat pavements, clean paved surfaces free from obstacles, and a pedestrianised pavement with well-maintained and uniformly designed street amenities were found to be mostly requested by the participants. The empirical outcomes have been translated into a map-based toolkit to enable researchers, namely local councillors, urban planners, neighbourhood designers, and road engineers, to have a better understanding of the relationship between pavements and older adults and to further explore the study topic through a participatory study with older adults as the participants. In the participatory study, users can use the tool to identify hazardous factors of pavements and their impact on walking in the study participants and to propose recommendation to enhance the walking environment based on a printed map of a local pavement environment. As to the outputs of the study, plenty of analysable data which are systematically categorised by the tool will be provided to researchers. Then, researchers can prioritise problems with the pavement, analyse the significant walking behaviour associated with the pavement hazards and make improvements in the pavement. The toolkit has been evaluated by target users in interviews and workshops with questionnaires applied to collect feedback. According to the user feedback, the tool encouraged elderly participants to actively share their views and to generate ideas in a group activity. Also, the tool enabled researchers to conduct an efficient group study, to develop their work with new knowledge and to create an assessment report and design guidance for the age-friendly pavement environment.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London
Appears in Collections:Design
Brunel Design School Theses

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