‘Walkability’ describes the extent to which the built environment is walking-friendly. It is a useful way to assess the characteristics of an area or a route, and considers accessibility in terms of proximity to destinations.  There is no agreed definition of walkability, however, the following is considered a broad definition:

‘Walkability is the extent to which the built environment supports and encourages walking by providing for pedestrian comfort and safety, connecting people with varied destinations within a reasonable amount of time and effort, and offering visual interest in journeys throughout the network.[1]

In a walkable community, walking is considered a normal mode choice that connects people with their destinations and other modes of travel… A highly walkable environment invites people of any age, gender or degree of mobility to access their city independently and with enjoyment.’ (SUTP, 2018).[2]

If Mum and Dad think that it's safe enough, I can go to the park by myself or to the dairy, but if there are busy streets and no safe places to cross the road we usually take the car.


The walkability of a place is influenced by its urban form and whether it meets seven pedestrian network characteristics. There are a range of outcomes that influence whether walking is a viable and easy mode choice for many daily travel needs.

PNG: Urban form

PNG: Pedestrian network characteristics

PNG: Planning processes: Outcomes to make walking an easy choice


[1] Forsyth, Ann. (2015). What is a Walkable Place? The walkability debate in urban design. Urban Design International 20, no 4: 274-292

[2] Sustainable Urban Transport Project. (2018). iNUA #8: Meeting the Needs of People – Walking(external link)