It may be hard to believe, but each day we post over 1.8 billion photos to the internet, thats over 20,000 a second! While many of these are likely to be selfies, there must be many millions of photos of everyday streets and urban places. Each of these photographs holds valuable data about the qualities of each street, but because this data is in a visual format it can be hard to analyse and make sense of the huge number of images that are being posted to social media every day.
If you’ve ever used a navigation app to find your way through a city, then its very likely that the app only showed you the fastest route to your destination. Saving time is really important, but what if you could find a route that was fast and improved your mood?
The new updated Walkonomics app for iPhone and Android, can do just that. We’ve added navigation to Walkonomics, that will not only find the fastest walking route, but can also find the most beautiful route to any place in a city. Walkonomics does this by analysing over 1.7 million street trees, thousands of urban parks and over 46,000km of streets and footpaths.
We live in a world that is urbanising at an astonishing rate: 100 years ago only 20% of people lived in a city, by 2010 more than half the worlds population was living in an urban area and by 2050 we expect that figure to rise to 70%. As these mega-cities become increasingly dense and over-populated, the transport systems that support them are struggling to cope with the sheer numbers of people trying to move around. Many cities around the world are starting to wake up to the fact that they will have to become walkable and bikeable, just in order to function in the future.
There’s been plenty of research into how walkable streets and neighbourhoods get more people walking. However what we’re less sure about is: Who are the people that choose to walk more?
In an attempt to answer this question, Transport for London have released new research with some interesting findings. By combining a large travel survey with Londoners demographic data, the study attempted to identify which types of people walk more as part of their everyday lifestyle.
Walking is the simplest, cheapest and easiest way of getting around. In many big congested cities, its also the quickest way to move. However the simplicity of walking can sometimes make it difficult to ‘sell’ as a concept to government, business and the general public.
You see the problem is, that walking doesn’t really require any extra technology or equipment. ‘But where’s the problem in that?’ I hear you say. For many of us, that’s exactly why we like walking and the idea of walkable cities. However in our gadget-obsessed world, this lack of ‘hardware’ is often a problem. Perhaps the most worrying part of this is that politicians seem to be the most technology-obsessed of everyone, yet they hold most of the funding for walkability.
If you think about your favourite streets, the ones where you like to hang out and meet up with friends: the chances are that these types of street are walkable. Well it turns out that walkable streets are not only fun and exciting places to be, they are also incredibly profitable.
A healthy city is a walking city. Western cities in Britain and the US are haemorrhaging cash because of a lack of physical activity. Our automated lives have led to an obesity crisis which is costing us billions of pounds a year in health care costs. For instance the estimated cost of physical inactivity and obesity in England is over £10 billion a year (that’s 10% of the entire NHS budget!).
If you’ve walked through Covent Garden, Southbank or Oxford Street recently, the chances are you will have stumbled across the funky new Legible London pedestrian signs installed by TfL. These sleek, stylish ‘monoliths’ have been sprouting up all over the capital during the last year.