Although many studies have revealed that both air quality and walking activity are dominant contributors to public health, little is known about the relationship between them. Moreover, previous studies on this subject have given little consideration to the day-to-day atmospheric conditions and floating populations of surrounding areas even though most pedestrian count surveys are not conducted on a single day. Against this backdrop, using the 2015 Pedestrian Volume Survey data and quasi-real-time weather, air quality, and transit ridership data in Seoul, this study investigates the relationship between particulate matter (PM)10
and pedestrian street volumes empirically. The regression results suggest that PM10
concentration determines people’s intention to walk and affects the volume of street-level pedestrians. The three regression models, which adopted different spatial aggregation units of air quality, demonstrated that PM10
elasticity of pedestrian volume is the largest in the borough-level (the smallest spatial unit of air quality alert) model. This means that people react to the most accurate information they can access, implying that air quality information should be provided in smaller spatial units for public health. Thus, strengthening air quality warning standards of PM is an effective measure for enhancing public health.
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