Walking is an increasingly important issue in city planning. Sidewalk conditions are important to promote walking in cities and to ensure equitable accessibility for all. However, current methods of evaluating sidewalks are rather complex, subjective and resource-intensive, requiring expensive equipment or experts in the field. These factors make collecting sidewalk data at city level a challenge.
With this project, we propose WalkBot, an innovative, cost effective system to scan sidewalks. WalkBot is a portable data acquisition system capable of scanning and mapping sidewalk information.WalkBot collects 3D information about the environment and its geolocation,which is processed offline to provide key accessibility metrics, such as effective width and the presence of ground irregularities, thus evaluating the pedestrian network for compliance with accessibility standards more efficiently than current methods of manual and visual auditing.
So far, device was tested in a sample of Lisbon’s sidewalks, measuring sidewalk width, smoothness and free passing distance. The obtained results show that we can provide good measurements for the evaluation of the sidewalk conditions. These findings encourage the application of the WalkBot system to city-level, ultimately contributing to a people and environment-friendly city.