The Technology of Walkability
According to a recent article by Michael Scott, “the convergence of pedestrianism, technology and the built environment is poised to spark a walkability revolution that promises to yield a meaningful return to people as well as the cities in which they live.”
Describing what he calls the “Age of Mobile Pedestrianism,” Scott surveys some of the apps and ideas that are changing the way that people of all ages engage with their cities.
For instance, Scott quotes Steve Carroll, chief operating officer of RideScout, a mobile app that provides real-time information for getting around on foot or by other alternative forms of transportation: “We’ve been receiving interest from both local governments and businesses that want to provide incentives for their people to become car free. They have an open ear because of traffic congestion and other concerns associated with car-dependent lifestyles.”
Scott also acknowledges the potential pitfalls of pervasive technology, including distracted walkers and, of course, luddites. On the latter point, Scott quotes James Shaffer, president of Streetscapes, Inc.: “While all of the buzz is about smartphones, we must also consider the subset of people who couldn’t care less about technology yet want key information to enhance their walk experience.”