Facing the unfriendly street

Mapping critical walkability factors of elderly people walking with a Rollator, in the outdoor public space of Amsterdam the Netherlands.

MSc Colloquium by: Niene Boeijen

What will I tell you?

Municipalities responsible

Higher demand, less funds

Asks for new solutions

Let elderly live independently as long as possible

Living independently means being mobile for personal care and have access to the public space for grocery shopping, social contacts and physical activity.

The quality of the immediate environment is a significant determinant of elders well-being, independence and quality of life.
Problem definition

The forgotten pedestrian

policy, research, data

The vicious circle of no data- no awareness - no priority - no research - no data, needs to be broken.
GIS can help to map and study the environment and neighbourhood characteristics that influences outdoor walkability quality among older people and by doing so, fill a bit of the knowledge gap

Analyse and visualize geodata to explore the critical walkability factors for elderly depended on a rollator in the urban outdoor space.

Research Questions
  1. What are the critical walkability factors hindering elderly with a rollator in the outdoor environment?
  2. Which existing geodata can be used to map and analyse these critical walkability factors?
  3. What geodata can be collected with a smart walker to map and analyse these critical walkability factors?
  4. How can the available and measured geodata be compared?
1. Finding the Critical Walkability factors

Literature research


Top 3 found walkability factors:
Wrongly parked bikes and cars
Sloping pavements
Irregular pavement, cobbled surfaces or bad maintenance
2. Mapping walkability with available geodata
Mapping irregular surfaces
Mapping slope


4% slope

3. Mapping walkability with collecting geodata
Mapping irregular surfaces

Using an accelerometer

Set-up Rollator

Comparison Matthews et al. 2003

4. Comparing available and collected

Optimal circumstances

Regular walking speed, regular surface

GPS + Accelerometer + Slope map

"Rollatorloop" event

Same Set-up Rollator


Time series

$F_{(t)} = [A_{z}, speed, slope]$

With coordinates in RDnew $(x,y)$

The Change Point Method

R Package developed by Killick et.al 2014

Statistical properties of characteristics change

Mean or variance

Conclusion & Discussion
  1. Confirmed that the pedestrian is forgotten.
  2. Mapping irregular surfaces with an accelerometer is possible.
  3. Comparison with changepoint method shows potential for obstacle detection.
  1. Accuracy is key and critical for walkability studies.
  2. Accelerometer sensor quality is unknown.
  3. Changepoint method has more possibilities.
  4. Influenced experiments.
Final words

Thank you

for your attention