Pedestrian Environmental Quality Index

P.E.Q.I. Assessing the Built Environment

The built environment is increasingly recognized as a major contributor to health outcomes. Environments that encourage walking while discouraging driving reduce traffic-related noise and air pollution – associated with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, premature death, and lung function changes especially in children and people with lung diseases such as asthma. Quality, safe pedestrian environments also support a decreased risk of motor vehicle collisions and an increase in physical activity and social cohesion with benefits including the prevention of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease as well as stress reduction and mental health improvements that promote individual and community health.

The Pedestrian Environmental Quality Index (PEQI) questionnaire was developed in 2008 by the San Francisco Department of Public Health Program on Health, Equity and Sustainability (SFPDH) to assess the quality and safety of the physical pedestrian environment and inform pedestrian planning needs. It evaluates the pedestrian environment in five categories (intersection safety, traffic, street design, land use and perceptions of safety and walkability).

In 2009, with funding from The California Endowment and the UCLA Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, UCLA adapted San Francisco’s PEQI tool for use in Los Angeles. In 2011, we translated the paper-survey form into a mobile phone application with automated scoring and web-based mapping, known as PEQI 1.0. Both paper and smartphone versions of PEQI 1.0 are available in English and Spanish, and have been used by several community groups and planning agencies.

UCLA is preparing to upgrade the PEQI mobile app to reflect changes in technology and the questionnaire. From 2010-2012, SFDPH upgraded the questionnaire to version 2.0, based on the most up-to-date information available in transportation and public health journals on pedestrian safety, pedestrian comfort, and walkability. In addition, PEQI 2.0 has been tested for inter-rater reliability, and changes have been made to improve the likelihood that two independent auditors would rate the same intersection or street segment in the same way. It is time for the mobile app to incorporate the changes to the questionnaire between versions 1.0 and 2.0. We will also add iOS and PC platforms, making the app available for use on Android, iPhone, iPad, and PC-tablets or laptops.

By putting strong evaluative metrics into the hands of citizens and agencies alike, urban planning becomes democratized in whole new ways, allowing for prioritization of investments where they are needed most. Strong data is the basis for real change as we strive to redesign our cities to facilitate active transportation and physical activity, while simultaneously reducing the harms of pedestrian injury, motor-vehicle pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

To use PEQI 1.0 mobile app go to:

For information about the original PEQI, created by SFDPH, see:

PEQI Methods & Indicators Manual (2008)

Contact Christina Batteate for more information.

1. Cutts, BB., Darby, KJ., Boone, CG., & Brewis, A. (2009). City structure, obesity, and environmental justice: an integrated analysis of physical and social barriers to walkable streets and park access. Social Science & Medicine, 69, 1314-1322.
2. Ewing, R., L. Frank, et al. (2006). Understanding the relationship between public health and the built environment. A report prepared for LEED-ND Core Committee, Design, Community & Environment, Lawrence Frank and Company: 137.
3. Gordon-Larsen, P et al. (2009). Active commuting and cardiovascular disease risk: the CARDIA study. Arch Intern Med, 169(13), 1216-23.
4. Hamer, M & Chida, Y. (2008) Active commuting and cardiovascular risk: a meta-analytic review. Prev Med, 46(1), 9-13.