2023 <em>paper</em> “Modeling Barcelona sidewalks: A high resolution urban scale assessment of the walkable network”

Modeling Barcelona sidewalks: A high resolution urban scale assessment of the geometric attributes of the walkable network

PLoS ONE 18(7): e0284630

With Francesc Valls

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0284630

Within the framework of urban pedestrian networks, this paper presents a method of modeling the street network from the perspective of foot traffic, beyond the vehicle-focused street centerline representation approach in transportation research. A scalable method to extract the centerlines of the complete walkable urban area from its polygon representation at a one-meter resolution is discussed, using open-source tools. To evaluate the betweenness centrality in a spatially directed graph, the process is applied to the study of the ‘walkable Barcelona’, focusing on three key parameters: 1) the street width, 2) the longitudinal slope, and 3) the crosswalks connecting the sidewalk platforms. The results identify the uneven distribution of these parameters within a complex urban fabric, and the high-resolution cartography allows the identification of critical areas within the network, introducing future lines of research and applications of the workflow. This is especially relevant considering the increasing awareness of citizens and the urban agendas worldwide, aimed at improving and widening the sidewalk infrastructure that supports local activity in cities.