Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Runnabilty Scores

Over the last few years a number of organizations have developed methodologies for ranking the 'walkability' of streets. Interactive maps of these walkability rankings tend to color streets based on how pleasant they are to walk, based on factors such as the amount of motorized road traffic and the levels of 'greenery'.

Scholars at the Simon Fraser University argue that walkability scores are not particular helpful for runners. In their paper 'Creation of a Rough Runnability Index' they maintain that runners have different goals than walkers and that there has been little attention into how the built environment facilitates running. For example city streets which disrupt momentum by requiring lots of starting and stopping may not be a major deterrent for walkers but will deter runners keen on maintaining speed and momentum.

Aateka Shashank, Nadine Schuurman, Russell Copley and Scott Lear have therefore devised three new runnabilty indices which rank streets based on how conducive they are to runners. They have then used these indices to map the runnability of the city of Surrey in British Columbia, Canada. 

The Rough Runnability Indices interactive map colors the sidewalks of Surrey to show how suitable they are for running. The darker the colour of a sidewalk the lower the runnability score. The lighter the colour of a street then the higher the runnability score. You can select to view any of the three different runnability indices ('Runnability Index Safety', 'Runnability Index PM' and 'Runnability Index Generic') from the map sidebar.

You can learn more about the methodologies used to rank the runnability of sidewalks in each of the three developed indices in the paper Creation of a rough runnability index using an affordance-based framework

If you are interested in how 'walkable' or 'bikeable' a city is then you might like Walk Score, which ranks US cities based on how conducive they are for walking and / or cycling.

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