Walking and walkability: Is wayfinding a missing link? Implications for public health practice

Ann E. Vandenberg, Rebecca H. Hunter, Lynda A. Anderson, Lucinda L. Bryant, Steven P. Hooker, William A. Satariano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Research on walking and walkability has yet to focus on wayfinding, the interactive, problem-solving process by which people use environmental information to locate themselves and navigate through various settings. Methods: We reviewed the literature on outdoor pedestrian-oriented wayfinding to examine its relationship to walking and walkability, 2 areas of importance to physical activity promotion. Results: Our findings document that wayfinding is cognitively demanding and can compete with other functions, including walking itself. Moreover, features of the environment can either facilitate or impede wayfnding, just as environmental features can influence walking. Conclusions: Although there is still much to be learned about wayfinding and walking behaviors, our review helps frame the issues and lays out the importance of this area of research and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-197
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2016


  • Built environment
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Epidemiology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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