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Title: Behavioural thermal regulation explains pedestrian path choices in hot urban environments
Authors: Melnikov, Valentin R.
Christopoulos, Georgios I.
Krzhizhanovskaya, Valeria V.
Lees, Michael H.
Sloot, Peter M. A.
Keywords: Engineering::Environmental engineering
Issue Date: 2022
Source: Melnikov, V. R., Christopoulos, G. I., Krzhizhanovskaya, V. V., Lees, M. H. & Sloot, P. M. A. (2022). Behavioural thermal regulation explains pedestrian path choices in hot urban environments. Scientific Reports, 12(1), 2441-.
Journal: Scientific Reports
Abstract: Due to phenomena such as urban heat islands, outdoor thermal comfort of the cities' residents emerges as a growing concern. A major challenge for mega-cities in changing climate is the design of urban spaces that ensure and promote pedestrian thermal comfort. Understanding pedestrian behavioural adaptation to urban thermal environments is critically important to attain this goal. Current research in pedestrian behaviour lacks controlled experimentation, which limits the quantitative modelling of such complex behaviour. Combining well-controlled experiments with human participants and computational methods inspired by behavioural ecology and decision theory, we examine the effect of sun exposure on route choice in a tropical city. We find that the distance walked in the shade is discounted by a factor of 0.86 compared to the distance walked in the sun, and that shadows cast by buildings have a stronger effect than trees. The discounting effect is mathematically formalised and thus allows quantification of the behaviour that can be used in understanding pedestrian behaviour in changing urban climates. The results highlight the importance of assessment of climate through human responses to it and point the way forward to explore scenarios to mitigate pedestrian heat stress.
ISSN: 2045-2322
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-06383-5
Schools: Nanyang Business School 
Organisations: Future Cities Laboratory, Singapore-ETH Centre
Research Centres: Complexity Institute, NTU
Rights: © The Author(s) 2022. Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:NBS Journal Articles

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