Jakarta, the city where no-one wants to walk

A pedestrian passes around construction work in Jakarta, Indonesia, Aug 9, 2017. A smartphone-tracking study ranked Indonesia last of 46 countries and territories in steps per person. In the hot, smoggy capital, vehicle-clogged sidewalks don’t help. (The New York Times photo)

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Dita Wahyunita does not like walking the streets of the Indonesian capital.

And why would she? The sidewalk alone outside her high-rise office building near central Jakarta answers that question sufficiently. The pavement is cracked and uneven. There are missing sewer covers, exposed electrical wires and aggressive motorcyclists using the walkway to avoid traffic jams — or as parking lots.

Then, of course, she faces the stifling tropical heat, air pollution, pickpockets and other shady characters.

“I don’t feel safe walking for a number of reasons,” said Dita, 24. “The sidewalks here are terrible. In other countries, they have wide sidewalks only for pedestrians, so it’s OK.”

Dita, a marketing analyst, is not alone among Indonesians in shying away from walking. In a recent study by researchers at Stanford University, Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most-populous nation, came in last among 46 countries and territories for the number of walking steps its citizens take, averaging only 3,513 a day.

By comparison, Hong Kong was first with 6,880, and China second with 6,189. Ukraine, Japan and Russia rounded out the top five. The study tracked 717,000 people in 111 countries, who voluntarily monitored 68 million days of activity using an app on their smartphones and watch devices that was designed by Stanford researchers — the largest such tracking study ever, the researchers said. Each place needed to have at least 1,000 participants to be ranked in the report.

For the full report, see the print edition of Tuesday’s Bangkok Post or enjoy

A pedestrian walks between motorcycles in Central Jakarta, Indonesia, Aug 9, 2017. (NYT photo)

Pedestrians cross a street in the Mega Kuningan business district in South Jakarta, Indonesia, Aug 9, 2017. (NYT photo)

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