The influence of built environment features on crowdsourced physiological responses of pedestrians in neighborhoods

Jinwoo Kim, Changbum Ahn, Yunwoo Nam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


With the growth of interest in walkable neighborhoods, various efforts have been made to investigate to determine what kinds of built environment features induce physical and physiological discomfort in pedestrians in a neighborhood. Traditional evaluation approaches primarily rely on opinion surveys and field observation (e.g., neighborhood surveys and visual inspection) completed by pedestrians and trained auditors respectively, both of which require considerable time and funding. Additionally, visual audit and opinion survey methods are not free from subjectivity concerns. In this paper, we propose and test a novel approach to assess conditions of walkable environment by using body responses. The paper utilizes crowdsourced physiological data from pedestrians (e.g., gait stability, gait acceleration, and relative heart rate) to examine the interaction between built environment features and pedestrians' physical activities in a neighborhood. In an experiment conducted in Havelock neighborhood of Lincoln, Nebraska, subjects were asked to walk a pre-defined path of 1.26 km while bearing a wearable inertial measurement units (IMU) sensor, a wristband-type wearable device, and a smartphone. Additionally, subjects were asked to provide a subjective assessment of subsegments on a scale of 0 to 10. With these data, we investigate the relationship between physiological responses and the existing built environment features encountered by subjects. Our findings indicate that physiological response has a statistically significant relationship with built environment features and subjective ratings. The outcomes of the research will help improve the evaluation methods of built environment features and will promote neighborhood walkability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-169
Number of pages9
JournalComputers, Environment and Urban Systems
StatePublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Built environment assessment
  • Crowdsensing
  • Physiological response
  • Walkability
  • Wearable sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Urban Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'The influence of built environment features on crowdsourced physiological responses of pedestrians in neighborhoods'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this