The National Academies

NCHRP 17-87 [Final]

Enhancing Pedestrian Volume Estimation and Developing HCM Pedestrian Methodologies for Safe and Sustainable Communities

  Project Data
Funds: $550,000
Research Agency: Kittelson & Associates
Principal Investigator: Paul Ryus
Effective Date: 4/20/2018
Completion Date: 4/20/2020
Comments: Published as NCHRP WOD 312 and NCHRP Research Report 992

NCHRP Research Report 992: Guide to Pedestrian Analysis presents a state-of-the-art guide to conducting pedestrian traffic analysis on the basis of volume, safety, operations, and quality of service. In addition to the guide, the research provides new evaluation methods for use with the Highway Capacity Manual. The material in this report will be of immediate interest to new and experienced practitioners in their efforts to design facilities to accommodate pedestrians and create more walkable streets that lead to greater pedestrian safety and satisfaction.


In 2015, 5,376 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 70,000 were injured in traffic crashes in the United States (Traffic Safety Facts, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Pedestrian deaths accounted for 15% of all traffic fatalities. While the majority of the fatalities occurred in urban areas, the fatality risk can be even higher in rural areas after exposure has been controlled for. To address this growing problem, accurate methods for estimating pedestrian volumes are needed to quantify exposure and, in turn, evaluate the benefits of pedestrian countermeasures. Counting pedestrians is challenging, and there is a need for tools that can usefully estimate exposure when counts are unavailable or are limited in coverage (e.g., over short time periods or in few locations). Roadway designs and signal phasing that address the safety of all road users are being implemented in many cities around the country. These roadway designs include road diets with corner bulb-outs and sidewalk extensions, addition of bike lanes, crosswalk widening, and addition of corner or median refuge areas. These treatments were not evaluated in the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) pedestrian level-of-service (LOS) methodologies.


Under NCHRP Project 17-87, Kittelson & Associates, Inc., was asked to develop a scalable guide for jurisdictions (urban, suburban, and rural) to (a) identify techniques for efficient and accurate estimation of pedestrian volume and exposure, (b) determine field-observed factors affecting pedestrian flow at the facility level and integrate those factors into the HCM pedestrian LOS methodology, (c) determine how pedestrian safety improvements on the roadway and in signal timing designs (e.g., sidewalk extensions, corner bulb-outs, implementation of leading pedestrian intervals, and associated crash modification factors) should be reflected in the HCM pedestrian LOS, and (d) recommend corresponding enhancements to the current HCM methodology.


In addition to this guide, the research agency’s report on the conducting of the research, which documents the entire research effort, is available as NCHRP Web-Only Document 312:

Enhancing Pedestrian Volume Estimation and Developing HCM Pedestrian Methodologies for Safe and Sustainable Communities.

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