SSTI seeks input on bike-ped performance measures

By Robbie Webber

At the our May meeting, Making the Most of the Transportation Alternatives Program, and again during our July Community of Practice meeting we discussed performance measures for bicycle and pedestrian facilities. We have made some initial inquiries, and it turns out that as suggested in May, FHWA and many state DOTs, MPOs, and local jurisdictions are struggling with how to evaluate their TAP-funded and other active transportation projects.

Below is our plan for moving forward with the project. Please let us know if you are interested in participating. We would also like recommendations about who you think is already working on this subject. You can e-mail me at rwebber@ssti.us.

Problem statement: Many states and MPOs may have criteria for evaluating bicycle-pedestrian proposals for funding, but those criteria often don’t take into account system-level benefits and costs. And compared with highway measures, metrics for tracking ongoing performance are scarce. Pedestrian and bicycle traffic counts are being done in some cases, but these do not equal performance measures.

Work plan: We will survey our transportation agencies and others, and review the published literature, to identify best practices and ideas. If you know of good contacts or sources for developing metrics, please let me know.

We anticipate the survey will point to the need for improved data. If so, we will explore new data providers, including those making “big data” (e.g., from cell phone movements) available to see how they could meet agencies’ needs. We have been working with one such provider with respect to performance measures under MAP-21, and those discussions have been exciting. There may be a chance for an agency to pilot a data collection system that could feed an improved performance measure or measures.

Please let us know if you have any questions about any of this. We think this project will help agencies add multimodal analysis and performance measures to their toolboxes to inform funding and planning decisions. We look forward to hearing your thoughts as well.

Robbie Webber is a Senior Associate at SSTI.