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Qualitative evaluation of pedestrians' perceptions of walk ability and safety in relation to the built environment in Cali, Colombia
  1. J F R Espitia*,
  2. A Villaveces,
  3. L Nieto Gil,
  4. D Ortega,
  5. J J Medina,
  6. M I G Martinez
  1. Correspondence Cisalva Institute, Calle 4B # 36-00 Building 100 Cali 57 2, Colombia


In Cali, Colombia, according to the Observatory of Crime, pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users accounting for 50% of the total traffic-related deaths in the last 15 years. Despite this, there has been little research about the pedestrian perceptions of safety in particular with relation to the characteristics of the physical environment. In this study we compare pedestrian perceptions of safety and walkability by means of intercept interviews with perceptions reported in focal group settings. We conducted 400 pedestrian intercept interviews from 20 urban zones addressing frequency of walking, and perceptions of safety and security. Quantitative data from interviews were compared with qualitative data from focal groups regarding walkability and safety in relation to the physical characteristics of the environment. Results indicated that 40% of interviewed pedestrians were residents of the place, 46% of people reported being habitual walkers in the area, 56% perceive the neighbourhood where they were walking as unsafe and mostly at night. Over 80% were satisfied with access to public transportation and about half considered pedestrian crosswalks to be acceptable. Most complaints referred to excess noise, traffic and pollution. Combining quantitative and qualitative methodologies to collect information about pedestrian perceptions of safety and walkability improved and strengthened the results of this study. Perceptions of focus group participants has given valuable information that will be used to develop community prevention strategies addressing pedestrian injuries in this city.

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