Pedestrian Level of Service Factors Discussion

Peter W edited this page Jul 22, 2013 · 4 revisions

For a crossing:

  • Distance visible (sight distance) during daytime
  • Distance visible at night
  • Indicator lighting (flashing beacons indicating people may be in crosswalk)
  • Signal to control automobiles (a stop light)
  • If signalized, is the pedestrian signal automatic or does the pedestrian have to push a button? (Do we treat the pedestrian as expected, or an aberration?)
  • If push-button activated, time between pushing the button and getting a pedestrian signal.
  • Pedestrian Signal delay if signal changes on a loop cycle
  • Do blind people have an audible clue that they can safely cross?
  • Marking type (none or painted)
  • Crossing width (if marked)
  • Number of auto lanes to cross
  • Protective median island / pedestrian refuge present
  • Right on red / turn conflict
  • Permissive left turn conflict (left on flashing yellow for automobiles when pedestrians may be crossing)
  • Number of intersecting turn lanes
  • Percent of drivers who stop for pedestrians. Should be measured on the existing or built facility with pedestrian enforcement operations during dry and wet weather, during daytime and at night.
  • Existence/Quality of curb ramps (yes, yes but not up to standard, no curb ramp at all)
  • Radius of corner (tighter is better, because cars cannot speed around it)
  • If a blind person walks straight off the curb cut, will they be led directly across the crosswalk (the case when the curb cut is perpendicular to the direction of automobile traffic) or will they be sent into the middle of the intersection (the case when there is only one curb cut per corner, in the exact middle of the corner)?
  • Squeeze points: for instance a gate or choke point along a trail that is an obstacle.

For a walkway

  • Conflicts: intersections between walkway and automobile paths (driveways, side streets)
  • Width
  • Width of bikeway between curb and automobile lanes
  • Percentage of street segment with on-street parking between walkway and automobile lanes
  • Material (a gravel trail might be fine for kids walking to school, unless they're in a wheelchair)
  • Noise level from automobiles
  • Distance between sidewalk and public buildings (schools, storefronts, etc).
  • Buffer distance between curb and walkway
  • In a pedestrian district or place with public buildings, does the sidewalk have all five zones? (Frontage, Throughway, Furnishing, Edge, Extension)
  • Presence of seating (in general, and at transit stops)
  • Shading of seating
  • Pedestrian scale lighting
  • Percent of walkway shaded by trees or buildings during sunny days. Alternatively, average distance between trees in buffer area along walkway segment.
  • Trees, poles, etc that provide protection between cars and pedestrians.
  • Adjacent land use / access to destinations (retail, civic, parks, playgrounds, etc)
  • Street level activity (active floor levels -- shops, windows, parklets, outdoor cafes and seating, etc vs empty space, fences, etc)
  • Building facade orientation: are buildings oriented in line with the street?
  • Connectivity - length between pedestrian intersections (a two mile east / west trail with no options for turning north / south isn't very useful)
  • Provision of pedestrian signage at intersections (if you are at a crosswalk or a trail intersection, it should be apparent what you are crossing).
  • Provision of pedestrian scale maps at intersection (especially important for trail systems).
  • Presence of barriers? If the facility is a concrete sidewalk, a missing sidewalk would be considered a barrier. If the facility is a bark dust trail, a section with drainage problems would be considered a barrier. A jersey barrier is a barrier in all cases.
  • Vegetated median islands on two way streets. These provide shade, visual interest, and traffic calming.
  • Are the sidewalks straight or curvy? Curvy isn't too bad as long as it is still pretty direct and you don't have to be constantly changing direction, but often you can tell the sidewalk was installed by someone who thought it would "look pretty" but didn't actually plan on using it.
  • Number of design types between intersections. For instance, some places in suburbia have had different sidewalks built over the years that are at different setbacks or styles which is aesthetically and cognitively displeasing. Some are straight, some are curvy, some are wide, some are narrow, and often there are sideways jogs to connect them. Just pick something and stick with it!
  • Recycling and landfill bins.
  • Primary street user. Bicycle, pedestrian, automobile. Walking along car-free park blocks or car-light bike boulevards might be nice. Could answer the same thing with auto volumes though.
  • Air quality / pollution level.
  • Quality of enforcement programs
  • Sense of security (reported security incidents)
  • Cleanliness (litter, effective cleaning programs) [VTPI]
  • Marketing (programs to encourage and support walking)

For both:

  • Volume of automobile traffic
  • Pedestrian traffic volume.
  • Bicycle traffic volume.
  • Posted speed of automobile traffic
  • Percentage of heavy vehicles (trucks, freight, buses)
  • 85th percentile speed of automobile traffic
  • Maintenance - "Does the corridor suffer from maintenance deficiencies, including cracking, patching, buckling, weathering, holes, tree root intrusion, vegetative encroachment, rough railroad crossing, standing water, and so forth?" [1]
  • Grade

Transit facilities:

  • Distance between transit stops along walkway
  • Number of transit routes along walkway (more routes means more destinations accessible without transfers)
  • Shelter from wind, rain at transit stops
  • Shade at transit stops
  • Lighting at transit stop
  • Transit schedules at transit stops
  • Transit tracker at transit stops
  • Reading shelf/library, community bulletin board, heated seating, and other amenities at transit stop
  • Number of destinations served by transit facility (a bus that travels along two roads with nothing on them is less useful than a bus that travels on one road with a library, a grocery store, a coffee shop, and an office building, for example).

Some other awesome measures, from Florida [2]:

  • Enclosure (tightness of space between buildings)
  • Complexity & completeness of path network (more complexity is better - people like options for getting through a space for variety)
  • Building articulation (a historic building with doors, windows interesting detailing, etc is more visually rich than a blank wall)
  • Complexity of spaces (buildings with courtyards, nooks and crannies, etc)
  • Overhangs/Awnings/Varied Roof Lines
  • Transparency: "Transparency addresses the transition between the public space and private space. In business areas, transparency is created through the use of windows, outdoor displays, and sidewalk cafes. In residential areas, front porches facilitate a smooth interface between the public street and private house."
  • Physical components
  • Narrow lanes (10-11 vs 12-14 ft)
  • Broken sight lines to keep motorists from speeding
  • Crossing treatments - bulb outs, textured pavement, etc


  5. Victoria Transport Policy Institute, VTPI:
  6. Discussion of Pedestrians in Regional Travel Demand Models (GIS Jammers' work mentioned near the end):