A sustainable approach for planning of urban pedestrian routes and footpaths in a pandemic scenario

Keywords: Social distancing, Pedestrian behaviour, Level of service, Pedestrian infrastructures, walkability


The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has forced national and local governments to re-consider the relationship between mobility, urban space and health in order to ensure physical distancing while meeting the travel needs of inhabitants. In the first stage, corresponding to the expansion of infection, mobility was limited to essential workers and freight. In the second stage, with the easing of restrictions, limitations still remained for public transport. Limitations associated with perceived risk of infection significantly influenced travel behaviors, pushing a modal repositioning in demand to active mobility (walking, cycling, and use of micro-mobility). On the other hand, the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on mobility during the COVID outbreak are mostly directed at dedicating more urban space to cyclists and pedestrians, especially in densely populated urban areas, thus avoiding crowding on public transport and the use of private cars. In the same direction, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO, 2020) went during periods of stabilization and long-term recovery. It suggests policies and measures for the cities mobility to help people maintain physical distance while moving around the city. In the given conditions, walking becomes predominant for a sustainable mobility scenario, and structural measures (widening of the pathway) or regulatory measures (regulation of pedestrian flows) can be adopted withing the given strategy. Current pedestrian infrastructural offer is severely limited in functional terms by the urban planning and development, therefore measures oriented to enhance non-motorized mobility require the development and planning of new public spaces and infrastructures for pedestrian mobility within the urban layout. Policy makers and town planners need to rethink urban spaces and mobility in the pedestrian perspective. A methodology for classification of pathways, by capacity and level of service, is presented in the paper, on which to base strategies, policies and specific measures to verify pedestrian mobility demand.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Francis M. M. Cirianni, DICEAM, University Mediterranea, Reggio Calabria, Italy, City, Italy

Qualified Engineer, with a degree in civil Engineering and a PhD in Transport Engineering from the Mediterranea University of Reggio Calabria, Italy, Lecturer in Transport Planning and Infrastructures. Consultant, author of over 100 international technical and research publications, member of the board of professional and scientific associations, deputy Chair of the National Agency for Engineering Certification, has over thirty years of research activity in the field of transport systems and infrastructures. Is Editorial Board Member of international journals and acts as reviewer for national and international journals.

Antonio Comi, Tor Vergata University of Rome

He received the M.S. degrees in civil engineering specialization in transportation, in 2000 and the Ph.D. degree in transportation engineering from the Mediterranea University of Reggio Calabria, Italy, in 2004. From 2006 to 2015, he was an Assistant Professor with the University of Rome Tor Vergata. Since 2015, he has been an Associate Professor with the Department of Enterprise Engineering, University of Rome Tor Vergata, where he lectures in Theory of Transport Systems and Freight and Logistics Transportation Systems. He is the author of more than 150 papers in the field of transportation. His research interests include development and application of methods and models for the analysis and design of freight and passenger transport systems at urban and extra-urban scale, the development of tools for supporting users on unreliable networks and the simulation of path choice in real-time transit simulation. He is currently Associate Editor for Journal of Advanced Transportation, Transportation Engineering and Journal of Urban Planning Development, coordinated Erasmus+ project “SmaLog - Master in Smart Transport and Logistics for Cities”, and currently is responsible at the University of Rome Tor Vergata for the Erasmus+ project “AsiaSafe - Modernisation, Development and Capacity Building of Master Curriculum in Traffic Safety in Asian Universities”. He was appointed Board Member of the Italian Academic Society of Transport (SIDT) and is Academic Editor as well as Editorial Board Member of several international journals. He acts as a reviewer for many international journals.

Angelo S. Luongo, University Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy

He received a degree in Transportation Engineering from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” and the Ph.D in Transportation Engineering from the University of Reggio Calabria “Mediterranea”, Italy. He was contract lecturer of Transportation Engineering at the university of Basilicata, is teaching fellow in Transport Economy at the university of Bari “Aldo Moro, Consultant from 2016 to 2021 for mobility and transport services for the National Agency for Inward Investment and Economic Development (Invitalia) within the National Strategy for “Inner Areas” Strategy (SNAI). Mainly research interests are in the field of transport planning, traffic engineering and investment evaluation. Author of numerous scientific publications and technical papers on transpotation engineering and evalutation of the impacts of transport infrastructures and service.


Abdullah, M., Dias, C., Muley, D., Shahin, M. (2020). Exploring the impacts of COVID-19 on travel behavior and mode preferences. Transp. Rev. Interdisciplinary Perspectives 8 100255, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trip.2020.100255

Anastasiadou, K.; Gavanas, N.; Pyrgidis, C.; Pitsiava-Latinopoulou, M. (2021). Identifying and Prioritizing Sustainable Urban Mobility Barriers through a Modified Delphi-AHP Approach. Sustainability 2021, 13, 10386. https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810386

Appleyard, D. (1980) Livable Streets: Protected Neighborhoods? The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 451, 106–117. https://doi.org/10.1177/000271628045100111

Asadi-Shekari, Z., Moeinaddini, M., &Zaly Shah, M., 2012. Disabled pedestrian level of service method for evaluating and promoting inclusive walking facilities on urban streets. Journal of Transportation Engineering, 139(2), 181-192

Bansal, A., Goyal, T. (2018) Level of Service of Pedestrian Facilities in an Urban Area (A Critical Evaluation of Factors). Journal of Engineering Technology Volume 7, Special Issue (Internet of Things),Oct. 2018, pp. 416-434.

Barbarossa, L. (2020) The Post Pandemic City: Challenges and Opportunities for a Non-Motorized Urban Environment. An Overview of Italian Cases. Sustainability,12, 7172. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12177172.

Blocken, B., Malizia, F., van Druenen, T., Marchal, T. (2020) Towards Aerodynamically Equivalent COVID19 1.5 m Social Distancing for Walking and Running. Retrieved from:

http://www.urbanphysics.net/Social%20Distancing%20v20_White_Paper.pdf (accessed on 7 July 2021).

Brilon W., Grossmann M., Blanke H. (1994) Verfahren für die Berechnung der Leistungsfähigkeit und Qualität des Verkehrsablaufes auf Straßen ”Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Abschnitt 13“ Anlagen für den Fußgängerverkehr” , Heft 669.

Cahyanto, I., Wiblishauser, M., Pennington-Gray, L., Schroeder, A. (2016). The dynamics of travel avoidance: The case of Ebola in the US. Tour. Manage. Perspect. 20, 195–203. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tmp.2016.09.004

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020). Social Distancing. Retrieved from:


Cieśla, M., Kuśnierz, S., Modrzik, O., Niedośpiał, S., Sosna, P. (2021). Scenarios for the Development of Polish Passenger Transport Services in Pandemic Conditions. Sustainability, 13, 10278. https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810278

Cirianni, F., Monterosso, C., Panuccio, P., & Rindone, C. (2017). A review methodology of sustainable urban mobility plans: Objectives and actions to promote cycling and pedestrian mobility. In International conference on Smart and Sustainable Planning for Cities and Regions (685-697). Springer, Cham.

Cirianni, F., Leonardi, G., Iannò, D. (2021). Operating and integration of services in local public transport. Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies 178 SIST, 1523-1531.

Cirianni, F., Monterosso, C., Panuccio, P., Rindone, C. (2018). A review methodology of sustainable urban mobility plans: Objectives and actions to promote cycling and pedestrian mobility. Green Energy and Technology 0(9783319757735), 685-697.

Combs, T. S., Pardo, C. F. (2021). Shifting streets COVID-19 mobility data: Findings from a global dataset and a research agenda for transport planning and policy. Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Volume 9, March 2021, 100322. Elsevier Ltd, United Kingdom. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trip.2021.100322

Comi, A., Persia, L., Nuzzolo, A., Polimeni, A. (2019) Exploring Temporal and Spatial Structure of Urban Road Accidents: Some Empirical Evidences from Rome. In: Nathanail E., Karakikes I. (eds) Data Analytics: Paving the Way to Sustainable Urban Mobility. CSUM 2018. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol 879. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-02305-8_18, Springer, Cham,147-155.

Comi, A. (2021). Shopping and Transport Modes. In Vickerman, Roger (eds.) International Encyclopedia of Transportation, Volume, vol. 5, pp. 98-105. Elsevier Ltd, United Kingdom. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-102671-7.10412-9

Comi, A., Polimeni, A. and Balsamo, C. (2022). Road Accident Analysis with Data Mining Approach: evidence from Rome. Transportation Research Procedia 62, Elsevier Ltd., 798-805. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trpro.2022.02.099

Comi, A., Polimeni, A., Nuzzolo, A., (2022). An Innovative Methodology for Micro-Mobility Network Planning. Transportation Research Procedia 60, Elsevier Ltd., DOI: 10.1016/j.trpro.2021.12.004, pp. 20-27.

Dalmat, R.R., Mooney, S.J., Hurvitz, P.M., Zhou, C., Moudon, A.V., Saelens, B.E. (2021). Walkability measures to predict the likelihood of walking in a place: A classification and regression tree analysis. Health and PlaceVolume 72, 102700.

De Vos, J. (2020). The effect of COVID-19 and subsequent social distancing on travel behavior. Transp. Rev. Interdisciplinary Perspectives 5 100121, 1–3.

DM (2001). Norme funzionali e geometriche per la costruzione delle strade. Decreto Ministeriale protocollo 6792 del 05/11/2001, Rome, Italy.

Fenu, N. (2021). Bicycle and urban design. A lesson from Covid-19. TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 14(1), 69-92. https://doi.org/10.6092/1970-9870/7716

FHWA (2006). Federal Highway Administration University Course on Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation. Lesson 9, FHWA-HRT-05-133, 135-156.

Frazila, R., Zukhruf, F., Ornando Simorangkir, C., Burhani, J. T. (2019) Constructing pedestrian level of service based on the perspective of visual impairment person. MATEC Web of Conferences 270, 03009, ConCERN-2 2018.

Frohnwieser, A. (2012). Human Walking Behavior – The Effect of Density on Walking Speed and Direction. Diplomarbeit Universität Wien. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/260060809_Human_Walking_Behavior_-_The_Effect_of_Density_on_Walking_Speed_and_Direction

Fruin, J. J. (1971). Pedestrian planning and design (No. 206 pp). 1st Edition, Metropolitan Association of Urban Designers and Environmental Planners, New York, 1971.

Giles-Corti, B., Broomhall, M. H., Knuiman, M., Collins, C., Douglas, K., Ng, K., ... & Donovan, R. J. (2005). Increasing walking: how important is distance to, attractiveness, and size of public open space?. American journal of preventive medicine, 28(2), 169-176.

Goodman, R.W. (2005) Whatever You Call it, Just Don’t Think of Last Mile Logistics, Last. Glob. Logits. Supply Chain Strategy. 9, 84–86.

HCM (2010) Highway Capacity Manual 2010. Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Washington, DC, USA.

HCM (2020) Highway Capacity Manual, Sixth Edition: A Guide for Multimodal Mobility Analysis. Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Washington, DC, USA.

Helbing, D., Farkas, I. J., Molnar, P., & Vicsek, T. (2002). Simulation of pedestrian crowds in normal and evacuation situations. Pedestrian and evacuation dynamics, 21(2), 21-58.

Huff, H., & Liggett, R. (2014). The Highway Capacity Manual's Method for Calculating Bicycle and Pedestrian Levels of Service: The Ultimate White Paper. Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies and Institute of Transportation Studies University of California, Los Angeles.

Isfort (2020). 17° Rapporto sulla mobilità degli italiani Tra gestione del presente e strategie per il futuro. Roma. Retrieved from: https://www.isfort.it/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/RapportoMobilita2020.pdf.

Jia, Y., Usagawa, T., & Fu, H. (2014). The Association between walking and perceived environment in Chinese community residents: a cross-sectional study. PloS one, 9(2), e90078.

Jones, E. C., Azeem,G., Jefferson,F., Henry,M., Abolmaali,S. and Sparks, J. (2021). Supply chain modeling, COVID19, Underserved communities, Last mile transportation, Community mapping. Frontiers in Future Transportation, 23 September 2021 https://doi.org/10.3389/ffutr.2021.732331.

Kim, C., Cheon, S. H., Choi, K., Joh, C. H., & Lee, H. J. (2017). Exposure to fear: Changes in travel behavior during MERS outbreak in Seoul. KSCE Journal of Civil Engineering, 21(7), 2888-2895. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12205-017-0821-5

Lian, Y., D’Uva, D., Scandiffio, A. and Rolando, A. (2022). The more walkable, the more livable? – can urban attractiveness improve urban vitality?. Transportation Research Procedia 60, pp. 322-329.

Lozzi, G., Rodrigues, M., Marcucci, E., Teoh, T., Gatta, V., Pacelli, V. (2020). Research for TRAN Committee –COVID-19 and urban mobility: impacts and perspectives. European Parliament, Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies, Brussels

Manual, H. C. (2010). HCM2010. Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, Washington, DC, 1207.

NACTO (2020).Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery - Types of Policies to Consider. Retrieved from: https://nacto.org/publication/streets-for-pandemic-response-recovery/introduction/types-of-policies-to-consider/

Nuzzolo A., Comi A., Papa E., Polimeni A. (2019). Understanding Taxi Travel Demand Patterns Through Floating Car Data. In: Nathanail E., Karakikes I. (eds) Data Analytics: Paving the Way to Sustainable Urban Mobility. CSUM 2018. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol 879, Springer, Cham, 445-452. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-02305-8_54

Paydar, M.; Kamani Fard, A., 2021. The Contribution of Mobile Apps to the Improvement of Walking/Cycling Behavior Considering the Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic. Sustainability 2021, 13, 10580. https://doi.org/10.3390/su131910580

Pouw, C. A. S., Toschi, F., Van Schadewijk, F., Corbetta, A. (2020). Monitoring physical distancing for crowd management: Real-time trajectory and group analysis. PLoS ONE 15(10): e0240963. Retrieved from:


Raad, N., Burke, M. (2017). Pedestrian Levels-of-Service tools: problems of conception, factor identification, measurement and usefulness. 39th Australasian Transport Research Forum (ATRF), Auckland.

Rakhmatulloh, A.R., Kusumodewi, D.I., Suwandono, D. (2020). COVID-19: The Questions Ahead for Future Pedestrian Ways in Transit Area. E3S Web of Conferences 202, 0302. Retrieved from: https://Rakhmatulloh, A.R., Kusumodewi, D.I., Suwandono, D. (2020). COVID-19: The Questions Ahead for Future Pedestrian Ways in Transit Area. E3S Web of Conferences 202, 0302ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2020E3SWC.20203021R/abstract.

Saelens, B.E., Handy, S.L. (2008). Built Environment Correlates of Walking: A Review. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 40, S550–S566.

Singh, K., and Jain, P. K. (2011). Methods of assessing pedestrian level of service” Journal of Engineering Research and Studies, 2(1), 116-124

Southworth, M. (2005). Designing the Walkable City. Journal of Urban Planning and Development Vol. 131, Issue 4, pp. 246-257.

Speck, J. (2015). Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time Nova York: North Point Press, 312 p. ISBN 978-0865477728. Documents d’Anàlisi Geogràfica, 61(2), 437.

Sugiyama, T., Francis, J., Middleton, N. J., Owen, N., & Giles-Corti, B. (2010). Associations between recreational walking and attractiveness, size, and proximity of neighborhood open spaces. American journal of public health, 100(9), 1752-1757.

UNECE (2020). A Handbook on Sustainable Urban Mobility and Spatial Planning - Promoting Active Mobility. United Nations, Geneva.

United Nations Human Settlements Programme (2021). Cities and Pandemics: Towards a More Just, Green and Healthy Future. HS/058/20E, ISBN Number: 978-92-1-132877-6.

Vitello, P., Fiandrino, C., Capponi, A., Klopp, P., Connors, R. D., Viti, F. (2021). The Impact of SARS-COVID-19 Outbreak on European Cities Urban Mobility. Frontiers in Future Transportation, 20 May 2021, https://doi.org/ 10.3389/ffutr.2021.666212.

Wang, R., Lu, Y., Zhang, J., Liu, P., Yao, Y., Liu, Y., 2019. The relationship between visual enclosure for neighborhood street walkability and elders’ mental health in China: Using street view images. Journal of Transport & Health 13, 90–102.

How to Cite
CirianniF., ComiA., & LuongoA. (2022). A sustainable approach for planning of urban pedestrian routes and footpaths in a pandemic scenario. TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 15(1), 125-140. https://doi.org/10.6093/1970-9870/8629