Impact of regional population density on walking behavior

Masayoshi Tanishita*, Bert van Wee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
66 Downloads (Pure)


Land use can influence walking (measured by the number of steps) and so the health of people. This paper presents the result of empirical research on the impact of regional population densities (inhabitants per inhabitable area) on the number of steps (all steps, both outdoors and indoors). With data collected from almost 11,000 respondents in 148 Japanese regions, we estimate polynomial regression models, the total number of steps being the dependent variable and densities being the main independent variable. Regional population density significantly affects the number of steps after controlling for individual and household attributes. The estimated population density that maximizes the number of steps is around 11,000 persons/km2. Increasing densities, up to levels of around 11,000 inhabitants/km2, could increase walking and consequently the health of inhabitants. The population density elasticity of the number of steps is 0.046–0.049 in a simple log linear regression model without a peak.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-678
Number of pages18
JournalTransportation Planning and Technology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • behavior
  • health
  • indoors and outdoors
  • number of steps
  • population density
  • Walking


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