GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS APPLICATIONS FOR BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN DECISION-MAKING
(% of all trips)
(% of all trips)
(% of all trips)
In safety terms, there are over 5,000 pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities annually. These figures represent 14 percent of annual roadway fatalities.
Growth in Federal funding. Unprecedented levels of Federal aid funds are being used for walking and bicycling facilities. In 2008, the most recent year for which data are available, roughly $540 million was devoted to walking and bicycling infrastructure. This is a substantial increase from 15 years ago when the amount of Federal funding devoted to walking and bicycling activities was approximately $34 million.
Data needs. While the outlook for walking and bicycling as transportation modes is bright, there are many improvements that could be made to non-motorized data collection, including:
GIS can play a key part in addressing several of these data gaps. The peer exchange offered an opportunity for participants to describe to broader audiences what accomplishments are being made and how challenges are being overcome. This information can inform others' efforts to develop and implement similar decision-supporting geospatial applications.
For more information, contact Gabe Rousseau at email@example.com or 202-366-8044. FHWA's Pedestrian and Bicycle Program website is another resource: https://cms7.fhwa.dot.gov/research/research-programs/safety/pedestrian-bicycle-safety.
City of Miami (Florida)
Collin Worth, City of Miami Bicycle Coordinator/Special Projects Assistant
Until recently, the City of Miami had no bicycle facilities on city-owned streets, and cyclists were generally dissatisfied with the cycling conditions in the city. To address this gap and to enhance the overall bicycling environment of the city, a significant planning effort to design and implement bicycle-friendly projects has been occurring. Specifically, as a part of his Green Initiatives,8 the mayor of Miami established a bicycle action committee consisting of a variety of bicycle advocates, including staff from a number of city government departments who were identified to participate and provide input. During 2008, the committee drafted a Bicycle Action Plan9 that included goals for infrastructure development, public education, interdepartmental coordination, and monitoring and evaluation. The plan also called for the creation of a bicycle action map that showed existing and potential bicycle projects, such as those for greenways, shared routes, bicycle lanes, and neighborhood routes.
To accomplish the latter, the City of Miami initiated a two-phased effort:
Outreach, which was conducted primarily through advocacy groups involved with the bicycle action committee, consisted of online and paper surveys that requested input on a number of bicycling factors. Maps showing the existing transportation network and planned bike projects were provided, and the public was asked to identify where they typically ride and where they would like to see bicycle infrastructure. Survey questions sought to determine how frequently cyclist rode their bikes (e.g., constantly, daily, weekly, monthly), the purpose of the trips (e.g., exercise, recreation, fuel economy, commute), and where in the street they rode (e.g., street or sidewalk). Other questions included:
A challenge with the survey was many respondents gave vague answers even when questions requiring specific answers or data were asked, For example, when asked "Where would you like to see bike lanes? Specify routes and roads," some respondents indicated "downtown Miami" or "everywhere." Nevertheless, in some cases, the survey did help identify several locations for potential bicycle improvements that had not been previously considered.
To find roadways that could be compatible with bicycle facilities and the publically-identified needs, the City of Miami used high-resolution aerial images to examine street right-of-way (ROW) measurements. The effort started with streets that could provide connections to the existing bicycle network; the city and county have a partnership to fly the city for aerial imagery every year. Roads with widths less than 25 feet and with speed limits of 45 miles per hour or higher were excluded from the outset. In addition to their connectivity to existing facilities, important aspects for determining locations of future bicycle infrastructure included opportunities for potential connections to parks, schools, libraries, community buildings, and transit stations. Locations where traffic calming and controlling features were desirable were also higher priorities.
Streets deemed compatible are planned to be incorporated into future capital improvement projects, some of which are planned through 2014. Although this approach can limit the ability to make quick bicycle facility improvements, it allows planners to integrate these improvements with other, already approved infrastructure projects to phase in bicycle network enhancements over time. This approach also helps to ensure close coordination with county and state officials. Figure 1 illustrates the City of Miami's approved Bicycle Action Plan map.
Figure 1. Approved Bicycle Action Plan Map for the City of Miami.
The public involvement approach used to draft the Bicycle Action Plan helped identify the need for a bicycle master plan. To address this need, the City of Miami intends to develop a bicycle master plan based on a more robust citywide approach that has adequate and ample support from several of the city's agencies. The city expects to schedule workshops aimed at gathering as much stakeholder input as possible.
The City of Miami also anticipates continuing its Bike Miami Days program, another component of the Bicycle Action Plan. Through Bike Miami Days, the city set out to create greater community involvement and an exploration of the downtown community through a monthly, family-friendly day of open streets. Bike Miami Days incorporates bike safety and education, as well as food entertainment, free bike rentals, and children's events. Recently ending its first season of implementation, Bike Miami Days have been enthusiastically received by the public. Law enforcement personnel have also indicated that city crime rates improve during these events. The first season of Bike Miami Days occurred from November through May and will begin again in October.
Other Related Efforts in Miami
Comments, Questions, and Answers
Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission (Vermont)
Chuck Wise, Senior Transportation Planner
Peter Fellows, GIS Manager
The Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission (TRORC) covers 30 municipalities in rural east-central Vermont and includes a population of 57,000. The agency has a staff of eight and functions as a rural planning organization. TRORC's regulatory structures rest with the state and its 255 towns; the agency primarily functions in an advisory capacity. In bicycle and pedestrian terms, projects in the region range from $300K-$500K and the projects are usually small in scope. Inflation and funding challenges have made it difficult to implement more expensive, complex projects.
TRORC's primary GIS uses for bicycle and pedestrian planning are to assess the suitability of existing roadways for making non-motorized improvements. In addition, use of GIS has helped TRORC prioritize bicycle and pedestrian projects. As a hypothetical example, two bridges might have identical sufficiency ratings but have different non-motorized capacities (e.g., one bridge has a bicycle lane and a sidewalk; the other bridge does not). TRORC might use GIS to identify the first bridge's non-motorized capacities and strategically "count" them when assessing and prioritizing all transportation projects.
In addition to facilitating more strategic prioritization, GIS has helped TRORC breach a gap between system-wide transportation planning and neighborhood planning. Since local constituencies have historically tended to motivate most bicycle and pedestrian project implementation in the region, GIS can help to "level the playing field" by making prioritization a more objective process.
However, modeling the transportation system as part of bicycle and pedestrian planning is a difficult process. The challenge is developing objective criteria to comprehend and assess a complex system. To achieve a level of consistency and objectivity when assessing road conditions for long-range planning, TRORC uses the Road Surface Management System (RSMS). The RSMS involves scoring different road attributes, such as the extent of roadway edge cracking, roughness, or rutting. Although the scoring is inherently subjective, planners can be trained on how to use the RSMS to achieve more predictable evaluation results. In combination with TRORC's capital project prioritization system, the RSMS set the framework for adapting a bicycle and pedestrian evaluation process.
While the state DOT focuses on engineering-related factors to prioritize projects, TRORC focuses on planning factors. Except for stimulus-related project solicitations, TRORC uses planning factors to prioritize and evaluate approximately 60 Federally funded transportation projects each year. Examples of these planning factors include the extent to which projects contribute to:
Using GIS to Develop a Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan
TRORC's draft bicycle and pedestrian plan has been completed. To develop the draft plan, TRORC took a number of steps, including:
Public Involvement Process. TRORC worked with a citizens' advisory group to identify important bicycle and pedestrian considerations. These considerations were divided into two categories: land use and transportation factors. Land use factors included existing land use densities, proximity to businesses and schools, and development growth centers. Transportation factors included RSMS road conditions, traffic volumes, and traffic speeds. TRORC then translated these factors into a GIS map to model potential areas for project implementation. Data were also organized by management segments, which comprised groups of towns and districts.
Prioritizing Projects. To prioritize bicycle and pedestrian projects for inclusion in the plan, TRORC used GIS to identify those projects that were located within a half mile of bus services. TRORC coded roads that received transit service and designated half mile "buffer zones" along these roads. TRORC then coded the roads that fell within the half mile buffer zones; roads that were within the zones or within walking distance of the zones received a certain number of points. Management segments then were drawn on top of the potential roads to designate areas for potential non-motorized projects. Points were totaled to determine the priority areas for these projects. Mr. Wise noted that this coding process sometimes yielded roads that could fit into a number of potential management segments. In these cases, roads had to be manually designated as part of a specific management segment.
Assessing Road Conditions and Suitability. TRORC used GIS to assess road conditions and suitability for bicycle and pedestrian activities. Elected officials helped define the final project prioritization methodology that was then used to evaluate every public road. The prioritization methodology was determined before any roads were formally evaluated. Elected officials had to contribute their planning priorities before seeing how these priorities might impact specific projects. Elected and appointed officials from the Select Board, planning commission, and conservation commission worked for months to finalize a ranking methodology that professional staff and citizen volunteers then used to evaluate the road system.
As part of this evaluation, traffic speeds were coded for road segments and then summarized into three speed limit categories (40 miles per hour and higher, 30-35 miles per hour, and 25 miles per hour). Higher points were assigned to roads with traffic speeds that compromised actual and perceived safety.
To further assess potential roads for bicycle and pedestrian facility development/improvements, TRORC used a three-step process to identify a road condition priority score. First, traffic volumes and land use densities were added to the number of walking and biking routes to produce a planning priority score. Second, special situations (e.g., political contexts) were considered to further rank potential roads. Finally, the quality of walking and biking conditions (including issues such as the vertical grade of biking routes or other types of topography that affect walking and biking) were considered as "tie-breakers" for those projects that received identical planning priority scores.
Additional variables such as statewide planning priorities (e.g., support of Vermont tourism) may be considered in future assessment processes. While these types of variables can help to focus and narrow a list of priority projects, they can also be subjective and difficult to translate into a GIS.
Public Feedback. As a final step, TRORC input priority road segments into the GIS and downloaded the data into an Excel spreadsheet for public distribution. Feedback was solicited by distributing surveys at local bike shops. The surveys asked the public to comment on those road segments recommended as priorities for non-motorized planning activities. The public agreed to approximately 20 percent of the planned improvements/developments. The public also unanimously supported the bicycle/pedestrian ranking system; there were no negative comments about the ranking process.
Lessons TRORC learned from the process of using GIS to develop the draft bicycle and pedestrian plan are:
Ongoing GIS Uses
While finalization of the draft bicycle and pedestrian plan is on hold while other municipal priorities are addressed, GIS has been adapted to other transportation and recreation projects at TRORC. For example, GIS is being used as part of the Safe Routes to School program to depict origins and destinations for students walking to school. GIS can be used to explain corridor-level priorities while helping people better understand spatial relationships. GIS can also help show the relationship between attendance at public meetings and project implementation (see Figure 2).
Comments, Questions, and Answers
New Jersey DOT
Robert d'Abadie, Michael Baker Jr., Inc.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), in cooperation with New Jersey's three MPOs, developed an update to its Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. The Master Plan provides a framework for estimating bicycle and pedestrian demand and analyzing demand and roadway suitability, along with additional methodologies for identifying priority corridors. The metrics in the Master Plan also provide a comparative framework for ranking projects at the statewide level. The update to the plan was unique in that it quantified bicycle and pedestrian needs at the statewide level, providing guidance to decision-makers on the best locations for future bicycle and pedestrian investment. GIS data inventories on both bike/pedestrian facilities and on trip attractors, such as schools, commercial areas, and transit stations, were critical in performing the analysis that led to the project priorities described in the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. The resulting list of priority locations for bicycle and pedestrian facilities across New Jersey are expected to help evaluate the need for bicycle and/or pedestrian improvements on existing and new infrastructure projects.10
To conduct the GIS analysis, the bicycle and pedestrian network first was inventoried. NJDOT and its consultant held three workshops across the state aimed at identifying what geospatial data for bicycle and pedestrian facilities existed for counties. A few counties were able to offer electronic data layers, while others gave paper maps or nothing at all. After completing the inventory, existing, programmed, and proposed bicycle and pedestrian facilities were mapped and then shown to the counties (see Figure 3). With the map in hand, the counties realized that they may have had more relevant data than first thought, motivating them to become more involved and provide additional data for the analysis. Additional data collected included information on trip attractors, inactive and active rail lines, the location of transit-oriented development, and Federal, state, and local funding opportunities.
Bicycle Suitability and Demand
As part of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, both bicycle and pedestrian travel demand and suitability were modeled to investigate priorities for the consideration of capital investments. Wanting to use the state of the practice at the time, several potential models were evaluated. For example, the Bike Demand Model (BDM) identifies potential demand based assuming no facility constraints, while the Bicycle Compatibility Index (BCI) looks at existing roadway and traffic characteristics to assess suitability for bicycle use. It was intended that the model used would have some of the following characteristics:
The resulting model used a combination of several interdependent methods in conjunction with facilities and trip attractor inventories at the statewide level. After the analysis, areas where bicycling demand was high and suitability was low were determined to be priorities.
Pedestrian Demand and Suitability
To help quantify the potential demand for infrastructure improvements, a pedestrian analysis was also undertaken. The model used in the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan to quantify pedestrian demand was the Pedestrian Compatibility Index (PCI). The PCI was based in part on the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority's Pedestrian Potential Index, which uses census tract level data, roadway density, and other factors to identify the areas with the greatest likelihood of significant pedestrian demand. The PCI index scores were created by multiplying 2000 census tract boundary scores for input indices:11
PCI values calculated were used to identify locations with the greatest current and potential pedestrian demand.
Due to the limited data available at the statewide level-in particular, the absence of sidewalk data-an alternate approach was developed to grade pedestrian accommodation on a roadway. A crossability index was created as a surrogate to the actual compatibility of a roadway. A methodology to estimate the time needed to cross the road (wait time plus crossing time) was based on average walking speed, step-off time, roadway width, number of lanes, and presence of a median. Using traffic volumes and a Poisson arrival pattern, the percent of the time that the road is crossable was then estimated. This estimate was used to identify those roadways that were in greatest need of pedestrian facilities.12
Challenges and Opportunities
A challenge in conducting the analyses was that counties did not always have the GIS capabilities necessary to recreate the analyses performed for NJDOT. Although a series of spreadsheets intended for these counties was developed, only about 25 percent of the counties were able to do the analysis themselves.
Training to the counties on how to apply the measures is ongoing. At a basic level, counties are being shown how to overlay bicycle and pedestrian demand layers with facilities and compatibility layers so that a four-mile buffer and all attractor data can be added. At the end of the process, counties have maps that illustrate the presence of high demand areas for bicycle and pedestrian use, as well as roadways where existing facilities are insufficient. This process is expected to help them justify investment in bicycle and pedestrian improvements.
In the future, NJDOT anticipates updating the model to have the latest census boundaries, better roadway, sidewalk, and facilities databases, and an enhanced approach for analyzing dense urban areas. With these data, it is expected that the calculation of model values in the GIS will be automated so that manual data input is no longer necessary.
Comments, Questions, and Answers
The Michigan DOT (MDOT) was an early adopter of non-motorized facilities. Section 10K of Michigan's Public Act of 1951 demonstrates the state's early commitment to these activities. The act governs state appropriations for highway and transportation funds and requires that at least one percent of the Michigan transportation fund be expended on non-motorized services or facilities, as calculated on a 10-year running average. The act provided impetus for several non-motorized projects, such as MDOT's construction of a paved 40-mile path running adjacent to the I-275 freeway.
As part of a broad MDOT initiative to improve the non-motorized landscape, MDOT developed a series of 10 regional bicycle maps that cover the entire state. The initial prototype took several years to develop with full stakeholder input. The effort to obtain extensive input from system users when developing the prototype helped highlight issues of importance to users, such as the best size for the maps.
The prototype was developed with an early insistence on the use of GIS as an important, integral tool to the process. The prototype laid out the scale and format for all the maps to follow, down to the detail of inset layouts. From earliest conception to completion, developing the entire series of bike maps took 10 years; almost all of the bike maps have now been published, and several have already been updated.
The maps are printed on quality water-resistant paper designed for outdoor use and each printing is intended to last three years. While being well-received by users, the map revenue goes into the general fund for MDOT and is not recycled into the non-motorized program. Maps are distributed with a suggested $5.00 value but each agency involved is allotted a supply to distribute as suits its needs. MDOT contracts with the League of Michigan Bicyclists to handle map orders, shipping, and maintain a customer database. Maps can be ordered from the MDOT bicycling homepage at www.michigan.gov/mdot-biking.
Data Collection for the Regional Bicycle Maps
To gather information for the regional bike maps, MDOT drew on existing data and collected new data when necessary. Some geospatial information was available from MDOT's transportation management system, especially for features such as ferries, rail, bridges, and carpool lots.
The Center for Shared Solutions and Technology Partnerships, a part of the Michigan state government Department of Information Technology, maintains a statewide GIS framework. The framework uses a physical road linear referencing system (LRS) to organize geographic data, which is updated on an annual basis. The state framework was an integral resource when developing the regional bicycle maps. The regional bike maps use the physical road LRS data from the state framework to produce attribute-rich road layers; MDOT does not yet have a LRS for off-road data. Framework files provided to each area included all trunkline information (i.e., road type, surface, shoulder type and width, and average daily traffic (AADT) counts), hydrology layers, county, city, and urban boundaries, parks, rail, and a local road layer.
While some shared-use path and shoulder data were available from MDOT's internal departments and from the state GIS framework, MDOT found that this area has typically been a lower priority for statewide data collection. To augment existing information, MDOT partnered externally with regional entities and MPOs to collect trail, road shoulder data, and other information on the local system in addition to general amenities (such as restaurants/public restroom facilities). A private consulting firm, the Greenways Collaborative, assisted in creating three of the regional maps.
MDOT contracted with three of the state's 15 MPOs and six of the 14 state planning and development regions for data collection. These agencies were required to provide specific types of data for the regional bike maps, such as pavement type on non-trunk line roads, rail trails, and local road AADT counts. In addition, the agencies can customize the maps with information pertinent to their area, such as adding information about wineries in southwestern Michigan or elevation data for parts of northern Michigan. In the future, agencies will be requested to collect a total of 29 attributes for trail, road, and bridge layers for a proposed MDOT master non-motorized database.
Building the Regional Bike Maps
The regional bike maps identify roadways with shoulders exceeding four or more feet as well as existing regional, county, local, and state bicycle facilities, multi-use trails, points of interest, trailheads, services, and road surface type (e.g., gravel or paved). In addition, the maps include color codes that designate annual AADT. To allow map users to make more informed decisions about what types of roads to travel on, the AADT figures were "translated" into ranges relevant for a bicyclist, such as "light" traffic volume (under 2,500 cars a day), "medium" (2,500 to 10,000 cars a day), and "heavy" (over 10,000 cars a day). An excerpt from a regional bike map is depicted below in Figure 4.
The maps also show that shoreline routes and abandoned rail corridors have received more attention as potential destinations for bicycle and pedestrian activities. MDOT's next step is to identify projects at the local and regional levels with potential for including non-motorized facilities.
Regional Non-Motorized Plans
The regional bike maps served as a base for developing regional non-motorized plans.
The plans identify the locations of paths, trails, potential rail-trail corridors, roads with paved shoulders, and priority corridors. MDOT uses the plans to identify opportunities for potential bicycle and pedestrian projects and to guide where and how to invest in non-motorized networks. These opportunities, as identified in the plan, might include:
To increase connections between rural areas, MDOT focused on coordination with on-road projects or linking existing non-motorized paths to major traffic generators.
To address opportunities for non-motorized planning in urban areas, MDOT assumed a need for bike lanes on urban thoroughfares and collectors and emphasized building a usable network of bike lanes. In many areas, particularly local neighborhoods, there may not be a high demand for bike facilities. In many areas, particularly local neighborhoods, traffic volumes are low enough that no special accommodations are needed.
In Michigan, there have often been many opportunities to add non-motorized elements to existing projects. In particular, the Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) initiative, which encourages development of transportation facilities suited to their physical and/or environmental settings with local input on priorities and needs, can help further non-motorized activities.
Since 2003, Michigan has had a CSS policy that requires MDOT to incorporate this approach into transportation decision-making when possible. The policy has facilitated bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure development. For example, engineers developed a context-sensitive tunnel under a roadway to allow bicyclists and pedestrians continuous access to a rail-trail corridor. The tunnel, which was built without the need for extensive advocacy from MDOT's bike and pedestrian planners, demonstrates that both context-sensitive planning and non-motorized planning can fit well together.
Current and Future Efforts
MDOT is moving into the second phase of the regional mapping project to update existing bike maps and identify critical elements to include in the next generation of map updates. In addition, MDOT is working to create a non-motorized transportation database for collected trail data. This geodatabase will potentially allow MDOT to create a rich interactive web application of the Michigan non-motorized network.
Work has also started on Connecting Michigan: Planning for the Future of Michigan's Trail System: A State Trails Planning Partnership,13 a state visioning plan to assess opportunities for building an interconnected trail system to link all areas of the state.
MDOT reported that an increased emphasis on bicycle and pedestrian planning has led to a changing organizational culture. For example, part of the department's project development "checklist" is to look at the potential incorporation of bicycle and pedestrian facilities. MDOT's CSS policy has also increased the focus on bicycle and pedestrian projects; likewise, a new departmental policy on sidewalks has emphasized constructing sidewalks to fill obvious gaps or otherwise meet needs. Both policies represent significant changes from several years ago.
It has sometimes been difficult for MDOT to integrate one-time data collection efforts with other departmental needs. For example, MDOT underwent an extensive state effort to collect an inventory for ramps constructed to meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Act. The inventory comprised information on the location and slope of the ramp. The effort did not involve collecting information on pedestrian signal location and sidewalks, although these data could have been obtained relatively easily while capturing the ramp information. It is important to consider opportunities to integrate data collection efforts to ensure that robust information is available for more comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian planning.
MDOT also found it challenging to address inter-agency data compatibility issues when building the regional bike maps. Each MPO used a different type of GIS database to collect attributes for the maps. Once received, MDOT had to spend extra time translating these data into a format usable for the agency. Additionally, obtaining data for the rural parts of the state not covered by MPOs was difficult. To do this work, MDOT had to negotiate with several agencies to collect information from outside their boundaries. Despite these difficulties with inter-agency collaboration, however, MDOT found that the data collection partnerships with external entities helped to generate significant support, awareness, and enthusiasm for bicycle and pedestrian planning. Overall these partnerships were significant assets to the bike mapping effort.
Comments, Questions, and Answers
City of Seattle DOT (Washington)
Chad Lynch, Seattle DOT
Amalia Leighton, SvR Design Co.
Seattle's Bicycle Master Plan
Thirty-six percent of Seattle residents bicycle recreationally, and approximately 4,000-8,000 individuals daily use their bicycles to commute to work. Given these ridership levels along with the city's climate, topography, and diverse demography, pedestrian and bicycle planning has become an important component of the city's overall transportation planning effort. GIS has played an increasingly significant role in assisting planners in the prioritization of bicycle and pedestrian improvements as the city moves to be less "auto-centric."
The earliest GIS for the city began in 1990, evolving from work being done in the City of Seattle's former Engineering Department. Early on, the city's GIS was used to improve the way utility infrastructure was managed and operated. Now GIS has permeated many of Seattle's business areas with at least six of the city's departments formally conducting some type of geospatial analysis.
The long and varied GIS history has contributed to a complex corporate geospatial architecture in Seattle. Eight offices subscribe to the city's primary geospatial database, and development of new databases and layers occurs on an ongoing basis. At Seattle DOT, staff members maintain and can access and update an abundance of GIS data. For example, through the Hansen asset management system, street maintenance and traffic management staff can view and update data on capital projects and roadway structures. Major projects, street use, and urban forestry staff can edit permitting data, while personnel in the policy and planning office can change data in an ArcSDE database. All of these data are referenced to the city's centerline file.
Approved in 2006 and completed in 2007, the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan capitalized on all of these geospatial data resources. Defining a set of actions to be completed within 10 years, the Bicycle Master Plan envisions a 450-mile network of on-and off-street bicycle facilities connecting Seattle and providing cyclists convenient access to transit stations, workplaces, parks, commercial areas, and other destinations throughout the city. Its goals are to increase the number of bicycle trips while reducing the number of crashes involving bicyclists.
In developing the plan, the City of Seattle compiled a field inventory of all existing bicycle facilities in the city along with a list of the facilities needed to complete the network, including bicycle lanes, sharrows, climbing lanes, and signed routes. GIS analysts then worked to prioritize potential projects based on criteria established by the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board and Seattle DOT staff. Prioritization criteria were based on links, barriers, safety, land use, and destinations. It is anticipated that using these criteria will help ensure that the completed bicycle facility network will offer at least one bicycle facility within a quarter mile of 95 percent of Seattle homes.
Since the plan was implemented, much progress has been made, including the addition of 56 new miles of bike lanes or sharrows, 15 new signed routes, 16 green lanes, and 429 bike racks, among other improvements.
The master plan and latest progress report (February 2009) are available at www.seattle.gov/Transportation/bikemaster.htm.
Seattle's Pedestrian Master Plan
Currently, about 25 percent of Seattle does not have sidewalks. The city's recently completed draft Pedestrian Master Plan aims to improve this and other characteristics of Seattle's walking environment. The plan, which is entirely Internet-based, defines the steps necessary to make Seattle a more walkable, livable, and healthy city. The goals of the plan are safety, equity, vibrancy, and health so that access in all Seattle's neighborhoods is enhanced.
An interagency advisory team provided pedestrian-related data and input on an in-depth review of the policies and practices related to the pedestrian environment. This helped to inform the plan's objectives and strategies. To begin, the team compiled and analyzed data related to the plan goals. The current quality of the pedestrian environment and anticipated pedestrian activity levels were evaluated. The analysis also considered socioeconomic and health factors, such as lower rates of automobile ownership and higher rates of diabetes and obesity. In doing so, all streets were viewed as having some improvement opportunity; no streets were considered perfect.
Using the centerline as the reference point, Seattle DOT completed a sidewalk inventory, identifying where sidewalks were and how their existing conditions could be characterized throughout the city. Opportunities for improvement were estimated using variables that contribute to the pedestrian environment, such as:
Using this approach, an area with wide roads, no sidewalks, and no traffic signals was assumed to be more challenging for pedestrians than an area with sidewalks, traffic signals, lower traffic speed, and curb ramps on every corner. All roads and intersections were then scored, allowing for an overall comparison of the city's streets' pedestrian potential.
In order to prioritize potential projects, the scores were first entered into a GIS and combined with other prioritization criteria to generate three maps: a Demand Map, an Equity Map, and a Corridor Function Map. The Demand Map was based on "demand generators" intended to help planners further understand where people walk. High generators included universities or colleges, major destinations, and major transit stops. Medium generators were major retail and grocery stores, hospitals, community centers, and parks. Low generators included minor retail stores and bus stops. The Equity Map identified where pedestrian improvements would serve people with the greatest needs. Neighborhoods with low incomes and low auto ownership rates and people with disabilities, obesity, chronic disease, and low levels of physical activity were considered higher priorities in the Equity Map. Finally, the Corridor Function Map balanced street classification and land use in auto-oriented corridors with the needs of pedestrians based on their destinations. For example, Seattle's port facilities area, which produces significant economic activity for the city, was considered as an important pedestrian priority area in the Corridor Function Map.
The three maps were then combined to establish pedestrian priorities (see Figure 6). The Demand Map contributed 40 percent to the final prioritization, while the Equity Map and Corridor Function Map contributed 35 percent and 25 percent, respectively. The highest scoring priority areas were overlaid with the initial data collected on improvement opportunities.
Building in performance measures and reporting and tracking requirements, the resulting Pedestrian Master Plan makes a commitment to work on making improvements in the priority areas over the next five years. The plan also informs future data gathering efforts, planning level cost estimates, and interagency and project development coordination. Funding for pedestrian improvements for 2009-2014 is approximately $60-72 million, or $10-12 million per year.
The draft Seattle Pedestrian Plan is available at http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/pedestrian.htm. More details regarding the implementation of the plan, as well as links to the GIS-based project prioritization assessment, are available at http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/pedestrian.htm.
Comments, Questions, and Answers
Broward MPO (Florida)
The Broward MPO, established in 1977, is the lead agency responsible for developing and administering plans and programs to maintain eligibility and receive Federal funds for the transportation systems in Broward County, FL. The MPO has five districts and 19 member municipalities. There are approximately 4,000 miles of roads in Broward County, of which 700-800 are arterials and collectors.
To enhance the availability of bicycling information in the county, the MPO has funded two state universities-Florida International University (FIU) and the University of Florida-to develop an interactive, web-based bicycle route-planning tool. Using specially developed algorithms, the tool calculates a variety of routes for the same origin and destination based on bicycle facility locations, bicycle suitability ratings, traffic signal locations, signal timing, and bicyclists speed (see Figure 7). It also allows the user to view a variety of transportation related information as static layers. The tool uses these factors to help bicyclists to choose a bicycle route based on the following optimization criteria:
The planner provides users with printer-ready, turn-by-turn directions indicating time and distance. Development of the tool is expected to be completed in August 2009.
Comments, Questions, and Answers
Martin MPO (Florida)
The Martin MPO was established in 1993 and is Florida's second-smallest MPO, serving a population of 140,000 that has significant seasonal fluctuations. Martin County is located north of Miami along Florida's eastern coast. While the county experiences some growth demands, it is generally a slower growing area. There is strong support for open space and environmental preservation as well as greenways and trails. For example, county residents voted for a half-cent sales tax to fund park development and necessary land purchases under the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, a framework for Federal restoration of the South Florida ecosystem.
Bicycle and pedestrian advocacy is also growing, as evidenced by the increasing activity of organizations like the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) and the Treasure Coast Cycling Association (TCCA), a non-profit promoting cycling in Martin County and neighboring St. Lucie county. The MPO has involved BPAC and other advocacy organizations in planning for bicycle and pedestrian activities.
Current Conditions and Challenges
Martin County has a fairly well-developed sidewalk network although there are significant network gaps in older neighborhoods. The county also has strong land development standards that are conducive to bicycle and pedestrian activities; for example, all new sidewalks must be at least six feet in width and located at least one foot from the outside edge of the ROW. In addition, new county and state DOT expansion projects must include bicycle and pedestrian enhancements, such as bicycle lanes and sidewalks on bridges. These facilities are heavily used.
There are several challenges to planning for bicycle and pedestrian activities in the area. Florida has the highest bicycle fatality rate in the Nation and bicycle facilities are lacking and inconsistent overall. While bike lanes exist on newer or reconstructed roadways, there are narrow or no shoulders on older roadways. Obtaining ROW to construct bike facilities is the biggest challenge for the Martin MPO.
Using GIS to Identify Multi-Modal Needs and Priorities
The Martin MPO has several goals of upgrading biking facilities, improving linkages, and addressing gaps in the sidewalk/path network.
To meet these goals, the Martin MPO is in the process of building a GIS database. Data sources for the database include the Florida DOT, cities, developer site plans (particularly for sidewalk data), aerial imagery, and the Martin County Hansen asset management database. The Martin MPO also conducted fieldwork to collect additional data and update current data.
Using this information, the Martin MPO produced working internal GIS maps to identify gaps in the existing bicycle and pedestrian network and prioritize project needs according to proximity to schools, parks, residential areas, and other public areas. Three roadway segments were identified where there were significant opportunities for bicycle and pedestrian enhancements, including the Seabranch Greenway project near the Seabranch Preserve State Park in eastern Martin County. This project will provide multi-modal path connectivity from the Port Salerno Community Redevelopment Area to the park entrance. The path will be an important segment of the East Coast Greenway, a 2,500-mile developing trail network linking Canada to Key West, Florida. GIS was used to identify the appropriate alignment for the multi-modal path. The first phase of path construction is planned for late 2009. This phase will be funded with transportation enhancement monies made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Kanner Highway (SR-76) was another segment identified as a significant opportunity for multi-modal enhancements. The highway passes a regional park but is also a heavily traveled access route to Interstate 95. The Martin MPO recommended SR-76 as a priority location for developing a multi-modal path to provide increased connectivity to the park and nearby schools. This multi-modal recommendation was incorporated into the Florida DOT's Project Development and Environment study for the future expansion of the highway.
In addition to using GIS to develop a needs/priority list for bicycle and pedestrian projects, the Martin MPO is using GIS for several other projects, including:
Comments, Questions, and Answers
To conclude the peer exchange, participants were given the opportunity to discuss observations made during the meeting. Participants also noted some of the lessons their organizations had learned in their efforts to develop and enhance ways to use GIS for supporting bicycle and pedestrian decisions.
Due to the range of peer agencies' experiences with bicycle and pedestrian planning, the workshop participants were introduced to many different issues, some of which they may not have previously considered. Participants shared ideas on addressing challenges to data collection and maintenance, obtaining funding for development of bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and determining what factors to consider when assessing the need for multi-modal facilities and enhancements. Overall, the workshop was one step to help build a stronger peer network and bicycle, pedestrian, and GIS practitioner community.
Michael Baker Jr., Inc
Miami-Dade Public Works
Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission
SvR Design Co.
City of Seattle DOT
U.S. DOT Volpe Center
FHWA Office of Interstate and Border Planning
Two Rivers Ottauquechee Regional Commission
City of Miami
U.S. DOT Volpe Center
City of Miami Public Works
City of Miami Public Works
City of Miami
The Street Plans Collaborative
City of Miami
City of Miami
Miami Mayor's Office
City of Miami
City of Miami
City of Miami
Goal: Share lessons and challenges in using GIS to accomplish various bike/pedestrian objectives.
|Monday, May 11|
|8:00||Meet in hotel lobby to travel to the Stephen P. Clark Government Center 111 NW 1st St, Miami, FL|
|8:30 - 8:45||Welcome, Introductions, and Background FHWA|
|8:45 - 9:00||Overview of FHWA's Pedestrian and Bicycle Program USDOT Volpe Center|
|9:00- 10:00||Roundtable Summary of GIS and bicycle/pedestrian activities. What would you like to learn?|
|10:15 - 11:45||Demonstrations/Presentations
|1:00 - 4:30||Demonstrations/Presentations
|Tuesday, May 12|
|8:00||Meet in hotel lobby to travel to the Stephen P. Clark Government Center|
|8:30 - 8:45||Day 1 Re-cap|
|8:45 - 10:15||Demonstrations/Presentations
|10:15 - 10:45||Roundtable|
|10:45||Peer Exchange Key Points and Wrap-Up FHWA|
The following list comprises the links included in the report.
AASHTO 2009 GIS in Transportation Symposium State Survey
City of Miami, Bicycle Action Plan
City of Miami, Office of the Mayor, Miami Green Commission
City of Seattle Draft Pedestrian Plan and Implementation Strategy
City of Seattle Master Bicycle Plan and progress report
City of Seattle, "My Neighborhood Map"
Fast Lane: The Official Blog of the USDOT Secretary
FHWA GIS in Transportation
FHWA's Pedestrian and Bicycle Program
FHWA Planning and Environment Linkages
Michigan DOT bicycle home page
Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance - Connecting Michigan: Planning for the Future of Michigan's Trail System: A State Trails Planning Partnership
National Bicycle and Walking Study: Ten-Year Status Report
National Household Travel Survey
1Candidate participants voluntarily submitted responses to an electronic questionnaire that FHWA developed. The questionnaire asked for information on the ways that transportation agencies use GIS for supporting and improving bicycle and pedestrian planning decision-making. The questionnaire also solicited information on outcomes from this decision-making process and challenges encountered. There were 37 respondents to the questionnaire representing state and city DOTs, MPOs, other county and local government agencies, and the private sector. Peer exchange participants were selected based on several criteria, including demonstration of innovative or unique application of GIS and the extent to which GIS use had resulted in documented outcomes. See Appendix A for a complete list of participants and attendees. (Back)
3National Bicycle and Walking Study: Ten-Year Status Report. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/resources/study/index.cfm (Back)
4The state survey is no longer available online. (Back)
8Mayor Diaz and the City have taken a series of steps to ensure that Miami's efforts to curb the impact of global warming and protect South Florida's environment are coordinated and are held accountable. Link no longer available. (Back)
10Paraphrased from Swords, Andrew R., et al, An Analytical Framework for Prioritizing Bicycle & Pedestrian Investments: New Jersey's Statewide Bicycle &Pedestrian Master Plan Update, Phase 2, TRB 2004 Annual Meeting. The final report includes all technical information related to developing the prioritization models. (Back)
11Metropark Rail Station Pedestrian Enhancement Study. (Back)