Perceived distance in the city as a function of time

Andrew Crompton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Estimates of walking distances up to 2 miles along a busy road were correlated with the length of time, between 2 and 26 months, that participants had been acquainted with the route in question. It was discovered that perceived distances increased the longer participants had known them. A mile was estimated, on average, to be 1.24 miles by a 1st-year student, 1.33 miles by a 2nd-year student, and 1.45 miles by a 3rd-year student. It is argued that this increase supports the feature-accumulation hypothesis of distance perception as opposed to the route-segmentation hypothesis. This result is used to explain Lee's anomaly that distances into a city are seen as shorter than equal outward journeys. A case is made for investigating distance perception in real rather than reduced-cue environments. © 2006 Sage Publications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-182
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironment and Behavior
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


  • Distance perception
  • Feature accumulation
  • Urban environment


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