The Nonmotorized Core of Tianjin


John Zacharias

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, policy - sustainable, place - urban, place - cbd, mode - bus, mode - pedestrian


Urban areas, Trips, Trip length, Travel patterns, Travel distance, Travel by mode, Travel behavior, Travel, Traffic free zones, Tianjin (China), Sustainable transportation, Pedestrians, Pedestrian trafficways, Pedestrian precinct, Pedestrian movement, Pedestrian facilities, Pedestrian areas, Nonmotorized transportation, Journeys, Downtowns, Crossing The Road, City centers, Central business districts, Auto free zones


Tianjin is a large, northern Chinese city with high levels of nonmotorized transport. Although successful pedestrian areas are often associated with mass transit, the largest pedestrian zone in China is now found at the geographic and historic center of a city with a metro system not in operation as of 2005. This successful pedestrian environment has acted as a magnet for commercial ventures since its 1999 opening. In this paper, it is argued that nonmotorized transport in Tianjin supports core area vitality. How such a large pedestrian environment is sustained internally is examined by considering walking distance, trips between shopping centers, the relationship between pedestrian volume and economic activity, as well as the role of pedestrian generators. Data was obtained through 1326 questionnaires, cordon counts, and 141 observed itineraries. It was found that the majority of visitors arrived by bicycle and then walked a mean distance of 780 m before making a final stop or leaving the pedestrian street. Pedestrians made 1.1 stops at stores fronting the street and entered 2.2 shopping centers. Pedestrian generators and large shopping facilities at street ends were significant contributors to longer walking trips and overall street vitality. Results support the suggestion that very large pedestrian environments are feasible and can operate as single, integrated systems in a larger nonmotorized environment.