Development of Guidelines for Accommodating Safe and Desirable Pedestrian Activity Within the Highway Environment: Volume 2

Report No: 75-R31

Published in 1975

About the report:

This study develops general guidelines for planning and evaluating suburban pedestrian systems. Pedestrian characteristics and capabilities which affect walking demand are summarized using the results of previous research. Reported research results are also used to examine the effectiveness of the physical walking system by analyzing various components A list of pedestrian planning and facility design guidelines is derived using the information that was reviewed. Total walking distance emerged as the predominant factor controlling suburban pedestrian demand Few people were willing to walk further than one mile (1.6 km.) from generator to attractor, with a majority unwilling to walk further than one-half mile (0.8 km.). These findings are tested in a set of case studies of pedestrianism in suburban areas that are described in Volume II of the study report. In volume 2, Pedestrianism in suburban areas was examined from the point of view of the walking and non-walking public. Nine case studies were conducted to determine the role of walking as an exclusive mode of travel. The sites examined comprised the three major types of pedestrian facilities--overpasses, tunnels, and at-grade crossings--plus locations where new pedestrian facilities are anticipated. In. each case, linkages between land uses were established to define reasons for local travel. The data were then analyzed to show how pedestrian facilities act to sustain the linkages. Various pedestrian characteristics were found to be related to walking activity. For example, age has a direct bearing on walking behavior, as children constitute the largest walking group. Acceptable walking distances up to about one-quarter mile (. 4 km) were given for adults, while distances up to one mile (1.6 km) offer little impedance to children. Along with distance, fear of attack is a primary impedance to the potential adult walker, especially the female. Overpasses were cited as the most desirable pedestrian accommodation to bypass traffic, while the public showed little enthusiasm for tunnels due to the mischief they attract. People have also shown that, if the reason exists, they will cross heavy traffic to travel by foot. The results of this study are ultimately interpreted to provide the Department with general principles for successful pedestrian planning in suburban areas. Finally, the survey findings support the idea of combined pedestrian and bicycle ways.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • William C. LaBaugh, Michael A. Perfater, Michael J. Demetsky, Ph.D.

Last updated: February 5, 2024

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