Where the Sidewalk Ends: Equity Disparities with Respect to Municipal Maintenance Policy

Sidewalks are a fundamental component of urban transportation networks. Yet unlike the rest of the right-of-way, many cities place the financial onus for the maintenance and replacement of sidewalks on the adjacent property owner. The resulting sidewalks can often be inconsistent and the means to fix them inefficient. Moreover, there may be disparities in the provision and quality of sidewalk infrastructure based on race, ethnicity, and/or income. This issue, unfortunately, remains an under-researched topic, primarily due to a lack of comprehensive sidewalk data. However, some cities are now beginning to collect planimetric spatial data from high resolution aerial imagery. This research project will conduct a comprehensive spatial analysis of the sidewalk infrastructure of two cities that take on the responsibility of sidewalks, and two that put that responsibility onto the abutting property owners. The research team will first ask whether variation in sidewalk maintenance policy impacts how sidewalks are being supplied and maintained in cities as well as if there are differences in the provision and condition of sidewalks based on income, race, or ethnicity in neighborhoods across these cities. If the team find disparities, they will then seek to see if these are related to differences in pedestrian safety outcomes. This work will account for sidewalk supply, quality, state of disrepair, urban design, street design, and connectivity as well as potentially confounding factors such as land use. Beyond the direct policy implications of this research, this work will also speaks to environmental justice as well as ADA accessibility.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $258313.20
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Mountain-Plains Consortium

    North Dakota State University
    Fargo, ND  United States  58108
  • Project Managers:

    Kline, Robin

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Colorado Denver

    Department of Civil Engineering
    1200 Larimer Street, Room 3037
    Denver, CO  United States  80217
  • Principal Investigators:

    Marshall, Wesley

    Janson, Bruce

  • Start Date: 20181214
  • Expected Completion Date: 20220731
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program
  • Source Data: MPC-579

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01688471
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Mountain-Plains Consortium
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747108
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Dec 14 2018 5:00PM