WIT Press

Functional aspects of modern and ancient pedestrian mobility on historic stone pavements


Free (open access)


Volume 12 (2017), Issue 3



Page Range

589 - 598

Paper DOI



WIT Press




Walking is a fundamental human activity and is an essential component in sustainable transport: it is a viable alternative to private and public transport, in case of short trips, and it also plays a key role in the public transport mode, since public transport is a transport inter-modal chain where the foot journeys have an important weight. Besides, walking is an ancient and natural act, it has always been connected with open space, but the same action of walking brought up, at least until the first half of the 18th century, considerable difficulties. The ability to use public spaces with facility and freedom was enjoyed in different ways depending on gender and social class. The stylistic and typological differences between men’s and women’s shoes, between shoes worn by people belonging to low and high rank determined over the centuries different mobility patterns. The ability to walk is connected with the type of the road surface and with the structure of the shoe that changes over the centuries as the concept of walking is changing. The road networks of inner city centers and the topic of the historic pavements to the same degree express the historical image of a place as the colors of the facades on buildings overlooking the streets. The paper aims to explore safety for pedestrian mobility in the present and in the past. With reference to stone pavements, it focuses on the analysis of all the properties that affect safety, particularly in terms of roughness, texture and skid resistance. Friction in dry and wet conditions will be analyzed taking into account different types of shoes, used both in the past and in the present time. The paper ends with remarks about safety for pedestrian mobility, specifically addressed to the historical city centre of Volterra, Tuscany, Italy.


historic stone pavements, pedestrian mobility, Tuscany, Volterra