Assessing grade separation pedestrian systems: Planning, design and operation

Jianqiang Cui* (Corresponding Author), Andrew Allan, Dong Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Grade separation pedestrian systems (GSPS), including skywalk systems and underground pedestrian systems (UPS), have been an emerging phenomenon in the city centres of megacities since early last century. Despite the examples of many successful GSPS in operation around the world, the application and performance of GSPS are not yet well understood by local authorities. This review discusses the functionality of GSPS through an examination of the performance of GSPS in terms of opening hours, facilities for vulnerable populations, signage systems, spatial structure, arrangement of entrances/exits, transportation, safety issues, comfort and amenities. Issues that have emerged from previous discussions in relation to their negative impacts on street life, social inequality of their usage and the privatisation of public spaces of GSPS are also discussed. The review concludes that GSPS have a diversity of functionality in varied urban settings. It also reveals shortcomings in the performance of GSPS. The literature review suggests research aspects that need to be updated, including the lack of empirically based studies, particularly studies from the perspective of the pedestrians using the systems, and a lack of investigation of the functionality of GSPS in cities other than North American cities, in particular, cities with UPS in developing countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-252
Number of pages10
JournalUrban Design International
Early online date3 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015


  • grade separations pedestrian system
  • skywalk
  • underground pedestrian system
  • planning
  • design


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