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Pedestrian And Walkability Research

Four documents related to pedestrians and walkability have been added to the Resource Center best practices database.

The Half-Mile Circle: Does It Best Represent Transit Station Catchments?, 2011, Erick Guerra, Robert Cervero, Daniel Tischler

This report from the University of California, Berkeley, Center for Future Urban Transport tests whether the accepted half-mile distance for gauging a transit station's catchment area is accurate. One-half mile corresponds to the distance over which someone from the edge of the circle can reach a station within 10 minutes walking at 3 mph. At a little more than 500 acres in size, the area within the half-mile ring represents the spatial extent of most TOD planning. In this paper, researchers tested whether predictions of average weekday boardings and alights were more accurate at a quarter-mile or a half-mile or even three-quarters of a mile. Researchers found strong evidence that, for the purposes of estimating station-level transit ridership, changing the radius has very little influence on a model’s predictive power. "A quarter-mile radius explains variation in transit ridership across the United States just as well as a half-mile radius, which itself performs similarly to a three-quarter mile radius. This suggests that transit agencies should use the easiest and most readily available station-area data when estimating direct demand models." For making causal inferences or developing land-use policy, found some support for using a quarter-mile catchment area when looking at jobs around transit stations and a half-mile catchment when looking at population.

Walk Urban: Demand, Constraints and Measurement of the Urban Pedestrian Environment, 2008, Brittany Montgomery and Peter Roberts

This report from the World Bank studies nature's low cost, sustainable urban transport -- walking -- and comes up with five dimensions of the walking environment and their associated indicators for use by cities to survey pedestrian conditions:

  • Accessibility/Mobility Average walking trip time
  • Safety Pedestrian fatalities/population 
  • Security Pedestrian - targeted crime rate; perception surveys 
  • Legal Provision Pedestrian rights Public 
  • Expenditure Percent of total urban infrastructure and maintenance funds spent on walking mode

Walking Distance Research, 2006, Fairfax County, VA, Planning Commission

The Fairfax County, VA, Planning Commission TOD Committee gathered a summary of walking distance research as of that date. The list includes: Qualitative Studies/Statements TOD Manuals from Other Jurisdictions/Transit Agencies Quantitative Studies.

Walking and Urban Form: Modeling and Testing Parental Decisions about Children’s Travel, 2003, Tracy Elizabeth McMillan

This research proposes a conceptual framework to examine the nature and shape of the relationships between urban form; interpersonal, demographic and social/cultural factors; parental decision-making and a child’s travel to school. Results suggest urban form elements such as street lights and street widths do affect the probability of a child walking or bicycling to school; however, the affect is modest compared to the perceived convenience of driving, the country of birth, the family's support of walking behavior, traffic conditions and perceived distances between home and school.