Developing methodologies for improving customer levels of service for walking

This resource presents an assessment tool to help planners, place managers, policy-makers, etc. in their decision-making efforts to create more walkable environments that contribute to improved liveability.

Date added 17 August 2021
Last updated 17 August 2021

The aim of this piece of work is to promote the needs and experiences of pedestrians to improve the walking infrastructure in different street types. It focuses on the case of New Zealand, but the methodology could be adapted and applied in other geographical contexts.

This framework is based on the factors that make people choose to walk, including the perspectives of pedestrians that are mobility or visually impaired. It was developed through a literature review as well as qualitative interviews. The framework was presented to different practitioners, applied in different contexts, and refined accordingly.

The methodology presented here has been designed to assess Pedestrian Level of Service (PLOS).  It is composed of very specific metrics that are scored, and these, in turn, contribute to five general outcomes that can also be scored by aggregation. These outcomes are: safety from vehicles, safety when crossing, security, high quality paths, and pleasant and attractive environments. Examples of the individual metrics include: footpath width, separation from moving traffic, surface quality, traffic volume, surveillance, lighting, greenery, comfort features, etc. This resource offers guidance on how to score each metric.

This framework helps understand how each of the five outcomes performs in a given place, as well as the overall quality of the walkability or the PLOS in a place. Importantly, this resource allows identifying key deficiencies, that is, metrics that score a 0 and are likely to present serious safety concerns. It also allows comparing the existing situation with options (or scenarios) for improvement and observing the effects of modifying some metrics but not others.