My Way - Towards a Typology of Pedestrian Spatio-temporal Behaviour in Shopping Environments

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


Pedestrians use and move through public space in very different patterns, which can be attributed to a multitude of different influence factors. There are however only limited findings about factors causing specific behaviour differences and the actual effects on motion patterns. Profound knowledge about the specific types of spatio‐temporal behaviour of pedestrians could facilitate the development of customised tools and services for optimising the use of space and supporting pedestrians in their tasks, e.g. pedestrian navigation systems, planning and design of buildings and open space, or simulation systems of pedestrian flows. In particular, the development of wayfinding and information tools for pedestrians faces several challenges. In contrast to commonly used navigation tools for vehicles, navigation services for pedestrians must fulfil more complex requirements in order to be accepted: for pedestrians, the shortest path does not always represent the optimal route for an individual´s purposes. Studies have revealed that people often forgo the shortest path and prefer the `most beautiful´, `most convenient´ or `safest´ path. People exploring a new environment on foot would therefore especially benefit from systems providing information concerning route qualities, interesting facilities in the vicinity and other useful location‐related suggestions. This work investigates group‐specific spatio‐temporal behaviour patterns of pedestrians and related influence factors and identifies homogeneous behaviour types based on motion patterns and attitudinal characteristics. The investigation of types is performed in shopping environments in order to (1) explore behaviour differences within a constant context situation and (2) to compare the resulting types with findings from consumer studies. To consider different potential determinants, a comprehensive approach combines several complementary empirical methods of data collection and analysis to thoroughly comprehend pedestrian spatio‐temporal behaviour. During two empirical phases different behaviour types were identified and tested by conducting unobtrusive observations, a questionnaire survey and a combined tracking‐interview approach. In total, datasets of 340 pedestrians were collected with different methods in a shopping mall and a shopping street in Vienna. The analysis of motion patterns and related internal drivers such as habits, preferences and attitudes results in six different types of pedestrians in shopping environments. The types are comprehensively described with respect to their spatio‐temporal behaviour patterns, their shopping preferences, their general dispositions and their personal characteristics. The identified types are discussed with regard to their conformity with previous findings from consumer research in order to examine the congruence of consumer attitudes with spatial behaviour patterns. The resulting typology of lifestylebased pedestrian mobility styles and the identified characteristic attributes can provide valuable input for several different applications. Especially for the development of ubiquitous information and wayfinding systems, the typology can serve as a basis to create pedestrian interest profiles in ubiquitous environments and to customise navigational and environmental information for mobile applications in order to fulfil individual needs.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • TU Wien
  • Gartner, Georg, Supervisor, External person
  • Dangschat, Jens S., Supervisor, External person
Award date19 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Research Field

  • Former Research Field - Mobility Systems


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