New tools for estimating biking and walking demand

By Robbie Webber

As part of the biennial Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place conference, Rich Kuzmyack of Renaissance Planning Group presented on new techniques for estimating travel demand for bicycling. He was a principal author of the recently published NCHRP Report 770: Estimating Bicycling and Walking for Planning and Project Development: A Guidebook.

The report and presentation represent a major step toward fulfilling a long-standing need for analytic methods that can effectively represent non-motorized transportation modes in the transportation and land use planning process. NCHRP 770 provides a menu of tools and best practices to estimate bicycling and walking demand. These tools can be used at the regional, corridor, project, or destination level.

Each tool considers the land use in the area and the characteristics of the transportation network that provides access to the destinations. Destinations are geocoded for proximity to the travel network. The quality of the connections, as well as the barriers to biking and walking, are used to calculate the relative desirability of each mode for reaching destinations that are within a reasonable distance.

By estimating the demand based on the relative desirability of each mode, investments can be prioritized. In addition, future bicycling and walking trip generation can be modeled if new connections or improved infrastructure are added.

The NCHRP report and toolkit can be downloaded at the TRB website.

Robbie Webber is a Senior Associate at SSTI.