Led by Professor Marcus White, this project aims to facilitate greater active journeys amongst Australians by developing a multicriteria design platform that evaluates precincts and tests various ‘walk-friendly’ scenarios. 

With 60 per cent of Australians failing to meet recommended physical targets and costing taxpayers billions of dollars each year, our team foresee a significant lack in spatio-temporal analysis and design tools prioritising urgently needed active transport infrastructure investment.  

We anticipate that improving ‘walk-quality’ and facilitating greater active journeys will increase incidental physical activity, and greatly benefit our communities.  

Walking accessibility analysis showing outcomes of pedestrian catchment modelling (ped-shed) for ten minutes' walk.

Our seminal cross-disciplinary study considers key ‘walk-quality’ urban design factors including: 

  • pedestrian accessibility 
  • slope 
  • thermal comfort 
  • pedestrian risk 
  • pollution. 

These factors will be combined into a design decision platform to enable systematic evaluation of precincts and test ‘what-if’ future scenarios.  

The project will address an urgent need for ‘walk-quality’ focused e-infrastructure/digital tools within local governments, built environment professionals and researchers, as well as the broader community to make more informed, integrated and effective planning policy decisions.  

We anticipate this project will lead to many other benefits including: 

  • physical: foreseeable increases in active travel (walking and cycling) 
  • economic: improved efficiency of industry processes and smart prioritisation of active travel infrastructure investment 
  • environmental: improving ‘walk-quality, reducing transport emissions and car dependency 
  • social: improving inclusive accessibility for people with mobility impairments, older adults, women and children.  
Thermal image of Arden-Macaulay, Melbourne area during Summer.

Project timeframe 


Research team 

  • Lead Chief Investigator: Prof Marcus White, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Chief Investigator: Prof Mark Stevenson, University of Melbourne 
  • Chief Investigator: Dr Robyn Schofield, University of Melbourne 
  • Chief Investigator: Associate Professor Stephen Livesley, University of Melbourne
Thermal image of Arden-Macaulay, Melbourne area during Winter.

See more projects from the Urban Design Architecture program

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