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

In 2015, 5,376 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 70,000 were injured in traffic crashes in the United States (Traffic Safety Facts, NHTSA). 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 controlling for exposure. 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. Currently, these treatments are not evaluated in the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) pedestrian Level of Service (LOS) methodologies. The objective of this research is to develop scalable guidance for jurisdictions (urban, suburban, and rural) to: (1) identify techniques for efficient and accurate estimation of pedestrian volume and exposure; (2) determine field-observed factors affecting pedestrian flow at the facility levels and integrate those factors into the HCM pedestrian LOS methodology; (3) determine how pedestrian safety improvements on the roadway and in signal timing designs (e.g., sidewalk extensions, corner bulb-outs, implementing Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs), and associated crash modification factors) should be reflected in the HCM pedestrian (LOS); and (4) recommend corresponding enhancements to the current HCM methodology. The guidance also should address issues related to pedestrian volume estimation, safety risk exposure, and the relationship between HCM pedestrian LOS measures and pedestrian safety, through investigations such as, but not limited to, the following: (1) Whether shy distances on sidewalks remain constant or if they fluctuate based on other factors (e.g., density, presence of counter flow, frequency of obstructions); (2) If there are other field-observed factors (e.g., crosswalk configurations, vehicle behaviors) that might affect the pedestrian crosswalk LOS; (3) Extensions to the HCM pedestrian LOS methodology to accurately assess impacts of improvements such as corner bulb-outs and other pedestrian safety and comfort enhancements; and (4) A review of pedestrian safety analysis methodologies (e.g., crash frequency, severity prediction) for a specific roadway design and compare with the HCM pedestrian LOS analysis results. Research Approach The National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objective. Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers' current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objective. A kick-off teleconference of the research team and NCHRP shall be scheduled within 1 month of the contract's execution. The work plan must be divided into phases with tasks, with each task described in detail. Phase 1 will consist of information gathering as described in criteria 1 and 2 of the objective, culminating in the submission of an interim report. The interim report will describe the work completed in the Phase 1 tasks and provide an updated work plan for the Phase 2 tasks, an outline of the guidance, and the plans for the Phase 2 peer exchange to critique the draft guidance. There must be a face-to-face meeting with NCHRP to discuss the interim report. No work shall be performed on Phase 2 without NCHRP approval. Phase 2 shall include data collection and analysis to complete criteria 3 and 4 of the objective, the development of the guidance, and a peer exchange at the Beckman Center in Irvine, CA, to review and critique the draft guidance. The NCHRP panel is seeking insights of proposers on how they will manage the peer exchange (including travel costs for non-panel participants) and gather feedback from transportation practitioners on the efficacy of the guidance. Note: The costs for the peer exchange, including invitational travel for up to 30 attendees, shall be included in the detailed budget for the research. TRB will cover costs associated with the meeting space at the Beckman Center in Irvine, CA, and NCHRP panel travel for the peer exchange.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 17-87

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Rogers, William

  • Start Date: 0
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 41641

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01634973
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 17-87
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: May 19 2017 1:00AM