Study of impact on mobility

PUI2016 Extra Credit Project Proposal

Quantifying the impact of urban interventions: The impact of construction sites on economic activity in the neighborhood (case study).

Ekaterina Levitskaya, github: el2666, NYU ID: el2666

Research Question:
How can we measure the impact of construction sites on economic activity in a given street/neighborhood? In this project the author would like to measure the precise impact of construction sites on pedestrian traffic. From the amount of pedestrian traffic we can infer the level of economic activity on that street or neighborhood.

By measuring changes in pedestrian traffic from continuous/historical data, a before/after analysis will be performed and then compared with the timeframe of the construction jobs in the same area. There will be a control for weather by looking at weather data for the same timeframe and events around the area at the time that could have influenced the pedestrian traffic beyond the construction site.

Construction Sites - Building Permits data, NYC Open Data
Pedestrian traffic - Pedestrian Count data, local business improvement districts’ data (open)
Data Processing needs: for the purpose of analysis, the author will need to identify available data for common geographic areas (streets) between Building Permits data and Pedestrian Count data which then can be compared within a specific timeframe.

The analysis of two datasets will show the correlation between the days of construction jobs and decrease or increase in pedestrian activity. Through control on other factors (weather, special events occurring in the area on those dates), it will be possible to  distinguish between simple correlation and causation - of influence of construction sites on pedestrian activity in a given area.

There are no exact studies on this topic, but there are general studies on how to quantify the impact of different aspects of urban living.
  1. Fujitsu (2014). Development of Quantitative Evaluation Method regarding Value and Environmental Impacts of Cities.
  2. Development of a Quantitative Methodology to Assess the Impacts of Urban Transport Interventions and Related Noise on Well-Being (2015). Matthias Braubach, Myriam Tobollik, Pierpaolo Mudu, Rosemary Hiscock, Dimitris Chapizanis, Denis A. Sarigiannis, Menno Keuken, Laura Perez and Marco Martuzzi.
  3. Study to support an Impact Assessment of the Urban Mobility Package Activity (2013). European Commission.
  4. Light Rail Impact Study. An Ecologic and Economic Assessment. (2012). Siemens and City of Turku.
An analytical framework, as well as a statistical result on the effect of construction on pedestrian traffic in NYC, will be published as an open source code that city governments, businesses or other interested parties could use for performing similar analysis on identifying impact of urban interventions in a given area.

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