Determinants of urban wayfinding styles

Lara Britt Zomer*, Florian Schneider, Danique Ton, Sascha Hoogendoorn-Lanser, Dorine Duives, Oded Cats, Serge Hoogendoorn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


Everyday people find their way towards work, supermarkets, or unfamiliar places are explored for a social visit. Understanding how differences in urban wayfinding behaviour relate to daily travel patterns is important to describe route choice behaviour, identify potential navigation problems, design more legible cities, and provide comprehensible travel information. Therefore, the goal of this study is to jointly investigate the differences between urban wayfinding styles and the relations with socio-demographic, motility, urban environment, navigational preferences, and daily travel behaviour. The findings of this study are based on a sample of the Dutch population of 1101 respondents. All respondents completed a three-day travel diary as part of the Mobility Panel Netherlands (MPN), and an additional cross-sectional survey designed to capture perceptions, attitudes, and wayfinding for active modes (PAW-AM). A Factor Analysis is conducted to identify urban wayfinding styles based on a Dutch version of the self-report questionnaire of environmental spatial skills originally developed in Santa Barbara (SBSOD). Generalized Linear Models (GLMs) are used to estimate to what extent various determinants affect two hypothesized urban wayfinding styles, in this study coined as Orientation Ability (OA) and Knowledge Gathering & Processing Ability (KA). The main findings of the study are an associated effect of gender and age on both urban wayfinding styles, while the navigational preference to follow the bearing line and average daily distance travelled by car have disassociated effects. The remaining determinants are only significant in either OA or KA, providing evidence that mainly different processes describe each wayfinding style.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-85
Number of pages14
JournalTravel Behaviour and Society
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Factor analysis
  • Generalized Linear Model (GLM)
  • Mobility behaviour
  • Sense of orientation
  • Travel diary
  • Urban environment


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