Assessment of Walkability of Large Parking Lots on University Campuses Using Walking Infrastructure and User Behavior as an Assessment Method for Promoting Sustainability

1. Introduction

Large university campuses are among the most dynamic places in cities, as they accommodate a large population of users, including students, faculty members, and other employees [1,2]. On car-dominated campuses, a significant number of users travel to and from campuses using private cars [3,4], because free parking lots act as magnets for those who travel by car [5]. In particular, large parking lots have become major hubs for commuters who use cars to start and end their daily walking trips [6]; therefore, these spaces have become one of the riskiest locations for pedestrian traffic accidents on university campuses [7,8]. This is a major issue that affects the sustainability and quality of life of a large number of campus users.

Walking, followed by cycling, has been recognized as the most sustainable mode of transportation within university campuses [9]. Several previous studies [10,11] have linked the enhancement of pedestrian accessibility and safety in urban areas with improved quality of life. Poor access to pedestrian infrastructure in large campus parking lots forces pedestrians to walk in parking aisles, exposing themselves to an increased risk of road traffic injuries [6]. Moreover, vaguely defined pedestrian infrastructure in parking lots can lead to pedestrian traffic accidents, because generally, car drivers do not look out for pedestrians when such facilities are absent or not easily visible [12], as they are usually distracted looking for parking spots [13]. Therefore, in this study, we highlight the importance of accessible and safe pedestrian infrastructure in parking lots as a way to improve the sustainability of and quality of life in university campuses.

In this study, we assessed walkability on university campuses that had large parking lots. We developed a novel assessment method and applied it in five large campus parking lots, all of which had different layouts, at the King Abdulaziz University (KAU) in Saudi Arabia. Thus, in this study, “large parking lots” are defined as those that require users to walk long distances and cross several parking aisles before reaching their desired destinations …


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