Walking Study

Walking Study

Limitless has positioned itself as a global master developer that designs human scale urban projects that put social interaction and wellbeing at its core. One way of realizing this vision is by providing walking friendly communities with lots of public spaces, and by providing alternative transportation options to the car.


In March and April 2009 Limitless researched current walking habits in Dubai and the usage and attitudes towards alternative modes of transportation such as bicycles and public transport. The purpose of this research was to bring tangible data to project teams that will help them in their planning processes, and it will also provide the marketing department with reliable data which can be used to educate the general public.


Methodology and research design
The fieldwork was carried out by AMRB, a leading regional marketing research company. The methodology they used to undertake the research in Dubai was a sample of 625 residents selected using a snowballing sampling technique and interviews conducted face to face. The residents were then selected along five geographical zones, to provide a demographic representative sample of the city. The sampling technique covers 80% of the Dubai population, as the construction workforce were excluded from the research. The results provide a 95% confidence level with a confidence interval of 4.


 Cluster  Areas recommended to covered Sample coverage 
 New Dubai area  Marina, Tecom, Greeens, Arabian Ranches etc.  95
 Sheikh Zayed Road & Jumeirah  Jumeirah, Umm Suqueim, Barsha, Sheikh Zayed Road  169
 Bur Dubai  Satwa, Mankhool, Golden Sands, Karama, Musallah 171
 Deira  Naif, Rigga, Murraqabat, Rashidiya  111
 Ghusais  Ghusais, Al Twar, Muhaisnah, Mirdif  79
 Total  625


The second part of the research was to provide 200 of those interviewed a pedometer for one week to record their walking habits. Of this sample 188 were valid users. The results were stored for seven days in the pedometer which was recorded after that period, and the respondents also kept diaries of where and when they walked.


Results of the study

Some of the key findings from the research included


  • It was, for the first time, established that residents of Dubai walk about 5500 steps a day – way lower than the recommended 10,000 steps a day for healthy lifestyle
  • For the purpose of the study, there was an identification of two main groups –
  1. Passive walkers – those who walked less than 3000 steps per day
  2. Active walkers – those who walked more than 5000 steps per day.


Feet first

  • Asians and Westerners walk the most, at 6687 and 6135 steps a day respectively
  • Residents of Bur Dubai walk more than people in any other location (6416)
  • 45 to 60 year olds cover more ground than any other age group, taking 8128 steps daily – almost 3,000 more than the average
  • Residents in lower income brackets tend to walk more than higher earners: 80 per cent of active walkers earn less than AED15,000 a month, compared to 68 per cent of people paid who are paid more

Transport trends

  • Cars outweigh any other form of transport in Dubai, though the Dubai Metro should reduce car dependency
  • Residents drive 24 days each month on average, and 80 per cent of people questioned said they had travelled by car in the last seven days
  • 42 per cent had used taxis and 20 per cent RTA buses
  • Expatriates are also driving more since arriving in Dubai – nearly half (48 per cent) of Westerners and three quarters (75 per cent) of expat Arabs say they use the car more often and walk less as a result

Home ground

  • People in Bur Dubai are strides ahead of those in other areas of the city, covering more than 6,416 steps daily. Closely behind are Ghusais residents (5983); followed by Deira (5295); and Sheikh Zayed Road, including Jumeirah (5159). Residents in New Dubai, which covers the The Springs, The Greens, Emirates Hills and Dubai Marina,  walk the least: just 4,000 steps daily, relying instead much more on the car


Why walk?

  • All ethnic groups cite improving health, losing weight, breathing fresh air and boosting energy as main reasons for walking, but almost a third (29 per cent) of Asians and nearly a quarter of Westerners (22 per cent) walk as an actual means of transport
  • Both of these groups also walk to avoid parking problems (28 per cent and 24 per cent respectively), and one in five Asians (19 per cent) walks to the bus stop, largely because they have no driving licence and rely on public transport

Why not walk?

  • Better infrastructure is the key to more walking, according to the study, which shows that lack of shade, footpaths, signalled crossings, pavements and greenery are the main reasons for peoples’ reluctance to walk. Nine out of 10 residents (90 per cent) would walk more if there were shaded streets on which to keep cool, and almost the same number (88 per cent) would take more strolls if streets had adjacent parks.


High walking communities contribute to a more sustainable society

At the heart of Limitless developments is to provide communities which enrich people’s lives and are sustainable for future generations. In other research studies it has been shown that by developing a more connected community it provides benefits of on many levels.

  • Economic benefit – The cost in 2004 of physical inactivity in England was 8.2m GBP .
  • Social benefits – The closer people live to higher speed roads, the less frequent they interact with their neighbours .
  • Environmental benefits – 50% of CO2 emissions come from cars in LA, the no 1 source . Dubai is a very car dependant city which would dramatically reduce its emissions through less car use.