Sustainable Modes of Mobility in New Urban Neighborhoods in UAE: Assessing Walkability and Bikability

  • Khaled Galal AhmedEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Science, Technology & Innovation book series (ASTI)


Sustainable modes of mobility within local communities are not only enhancing the physical and mental health of the residents, but they have significant social benefits. As residents are encouraged to abandon using their cars to access locally provided amenities, they develop more cohesive social relationships within their local communities. UAE has recently adopted a sustainable development agenda that endorses eco-community development where the conventional car-dependent sprawl urban forms are being transformed into more compact ones. This new trend has been reflected in recent new designs of urban communities in which it is claimed that sustainable urbanism principles, including sustainable modes of mobility, have been considered. However, there is a lack of reliable evidence that can assess the prospective performance of these new urban forms in terms of walkability and bikability. This study compares ‘walkability’ and ‘bikability’ scores, that range from 0 to 100, in both a conventionally developed urban sprawl neighborhood, and a recently designed more compact urban neighborhood. For investigating the two modes of mobility, the UMI urban modeling simulation tool has been utilized in this study to test walkability and bikability proximity to the points of interest for the provided local amenities in each of the two case studies. Walkability and bikability scores were obtained through constructing a pedestrian/cyclist travel network and performing a series of shortest path calculations using Dijkstra’s algorithm. It has been surprisingly found out that the new neighborhood achieved lower walkability and bikability scores despite being more compact where walkability scored 61 versus 66 for the conventional sprawl case study. The same result has been found out for bikability, where the score was 85 for the former and 96 for the later. These unexpected results indicate that the new ‘compact’ design has not reached to a sufficient and appropriate degree of compactness that takes into consideration not only the Floor Area Ratio, but also other important walkability/bikability factors including catchment distances, variety and sufficiency of provided amenities, global and destination weights of amenities, street intersection densities and average block length.


Walkability Bikability Mobility Neighborhoods Sustainability UMI UAE 



The researchers thank the United Arab Emirates University for funding this project under the Center-Based Interdisciplinary Grant Program, Grant No. 31R104, 2017.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.United Arab Emirates UniversityAl AinUAE

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