Analyzing Walkability Through Biometrics: Insights Into Sustainable Transportation Through the Use of Eye-Tracking Emulation Software

J Phys Act Health. 2020 Oct 9;17(11):1153-1161. doi: 10.1123/jpah.2020-0127.


Background: Understanding more about the unseen side of our responses to visual stimuli offers a powerful new tool for transportation planning. Traditional transportation planning tends to focus on the mobility of vehicles rather than on opportunities to encourage sustainable transport modes, like walking.

Methods: Using eye-tracking emulation software, this study measured the unconscious visual responses people have to designs and layouts in new built environments, focusing on what makes streets most walkable.

Results: The study found key differences between the way the brain takes in conventional automobile-oriented residential developments versus new urbanist layouts, with the former lacking key fixation points.

Conclusion: The study's discoveries significantly explain why new urbanist layouts promote walking effortlessly and conventional automobile-oriented residential developments cannot.

Keywords: cognition; human behavior; new urbanism; planning; psychology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Environment Design*
  • Eye-Tracking Technology*
  • Humans
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Software
  • Transportation
  • Walking