New Project (TRCLC 15-12)

TRCLC 15-12: Analysis of Walking Facility Performance Guidelines for Individuals with Disabilities

PI: Keith Christensen, Utah State University


Walking facilities are important infrastructure in a community’s transportation systems.  It is imperative to design and evaluate the effectiveness of these facilities to meet the walking needs of diverse pedestrian groups, including individuals with disabilities who represent a significant population in the United States.  The Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) defines walking facility performance using a qualitative measure describing operational conditions, or level of service (LOS). However, pedestrian LOS thresholds do not account for bi-directional flows, pedestrian/environment spacing, or heterogeneous pedestrian characteristics.  Such is the case as there is little research on diverse pedestrians’ behavior.  In particular, there is very little empirical study of individuals with disabilities’ walking behavior and perceptions.  As a result, how closely pedestrian LOS thresholds correspond to actual conditions have been shown to be inaccurate.

The purpose of this study is to empirically compare individuals with disabilities’ perceptions of quality of service and observed walking behavior (including bi-directional pedestrian flow and pedestrian/environment spacing) with existing walking facility guidelines.  Specifically, the objectives of this research are (1) identifying and quantify the effect of different pedestrian characteristics and walking behavior variables on the walkway level of service evaluations, and (2) examine and compare individuals with disabilities’ perceptions of walking facility performance with existing LOS design guidelines.