Examining the Walking Accessibility, Willingness, and Travel Conditions of Residents in Saudi Cities

Abstract

Rapid urban expansion and population growth in Saudi cities over the past four decades have increased vehicular accidents and traffic congestion and have impacted the daily walking conditions of the residents. Walking has various health and environmental benefits. In North American and European countries, three factors have been found to motivate a resident to walk within their community: their accessibility to community social and business facilities, their perception and willingness, and the safety conditions of the roads and sidewalks within their community for walking. This study examined these factors and their role in the walking habits of the residents in the neighborhoods of Doha and Dana districts in Saudi Arabia’s eastern city of Dhahran. Data were collected through field observations and by randomly sampling and interviewing 200 residents. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and SPSS statistical software were used for data analysis. The results show that most of the community facilities are randomly placed in the districts. Mosques are the closest facility to each resident with an average accessibility distance of 242m. Almost 43% of the respondents prefer daily walking while the rest are hesitant due to hot weather during summer and narrow and poorly designed sidewalks. The sidewalks were also found to be blocked by trees, street signals, and illegally parked vehicles. Future studies should explore the accessibility to facilities, willingness, climate, and health conditions of the residents, and the road and sidewalk conditions for walking in other cities of the Kingdom.Applied Science, Faculty ofNon UBCEngineering, School of (Okanagan)ReviewedFacult

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