The perception of accessibility and ease of orientation of underground pedestrian systems: A survey in Shanghai

Jianqiang Cui* (Corresponding Author), Andrew Allan, Michael A.P. Taylor, Dong Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Dominant modes of transport in city centres have a significant influence on urban morphology, land usage, the character of the urban environment and people’s life style. Improving accessibility, continuity, safety, availability and connectivity for pedestrians has critical importance as a means of decreasing vehicle usage and increasing public transport usage. Within the city centres of the mega cities, underground pedestrian systems (UPS) have been used to integrate pedestrian traffic in transport systems as a redevelopment strategy to provide additional space resources for multiple functions, such as commercial and public activities. With the recent economic success in China, the research relating to the impact on urban environments remains lacking, and this challenges the successful development of UPS in the future. Three UPS in Shanghai were subjected to a detailed investigation to understand the impact of the UPS, especially from the perspective of the users’ perception. Data were obtained from on-the-spot observations, face to face questionnaires with the UPS users, and interviews with an academic, a coordinator of a UPS project and two UPS managers. The research integrated both qualitative and quantitative methods, which analyzed the issues relating to accessibility and ease of orientation with the UPS. The research revealed that as an important component of central urban area pedestrian systems, the UPS have limited functionality to its users and are not fully utilized by the general public. The research focused on Shanghai’s expanding constellation of UPS, which has previously lacked discussion in the literature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-320
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Urban Sciences
Issue number3
Early online date16 Nov 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

The authors thank the three anonymous reviewers and the editor for their valuable comments and suggestions.


  • underground pedestrian systems
  • accessibility
  • orientation
  • perception
  • Shanghai


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