Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.
1 To effectively and efficiently plan for pedestrians in the United States, it is vital to under- stand the current state of pedestrian infrastructure data collection efforts. While pedestrian infrastructure data frequently are collected for a single purpose, they are less frequently collected comprehensively across an entire transportation network. This focus on limited data collection does not fully represent the true extent of existing infrastructure or allow for comprehensive planning, reporting or maintenance. Further, this approach is inconsistent with emerging thinking on asset management and transportation performance manage- ment (TPM), which describes the data themselves as products with their own lifecycles and associated best practices. The objective of this synthesis is to document and summarize current DOT practices for storing, collecting and sharing pedestrian infrastructure data. This information will help agencies tailor the data collection process to build data infrastructure that supports various uses, leading to more consistent and efficient planning and management of pedes- trian infrastructure. The information contained in this synthesis was collected in three ways. First, a literature review was conducted to provide background on asset management practices, infrastructure data collection considerations and the status of pedestrian infrastructure data collection by state DOTs. Second, a survey requesting information on current pedestrian infrastructure- data-related practices was distributed to state bicycle and pedestrian coordinators via an email list maintained by FHWA. DOT staff from 40 states (80%) responded to the survey. Finally, case example interviews were conducted with five state DOTs whose survey responses represent diverse approaches to pedestrian infrastructure data collection. The state DOTs selected as case examples represent various conditions and illustrate the range of current data collection practices, including: â¢ Data collection and storage techniques, staff understanding of existing data, and the amount and type of infrastructure data collected. â¢ Impact of both staff capacity and funding availability, ranging from limited capacity and funding to more robust funding and greater staff capacity. â¢ Varied motivations for data collection. For example, meeting an Americans with Dis- abilities Act (ADA) mandate vs. efficiencies in funding and maintenance. â¢ Multiplicity of data storage and usages within an individual agency. Findings in the literature review, survey and interviews document the current state of practice, shed light on the benefits of comprehensive data collection and highlight common challenges. S U M M A R Y Availability and Use of Pedestrian Infrastructure Data to Support Active Transportation Planning
2 Availability and Use of Pedestrian Infrastructure Data to Support Active Transportation Planning The survey found that 31 of the 40 responding DOTs report collection of pedestrian infrastructure data. However, the wide variety of survey results indicate that there is no consistent, all-inclusive definition of what pedestrian infrastructure includes or how data defining pedestrian infrastructure should be collected and stored. This lack of con- sistency contributes to diversity in how each state DOT approaches pedestrian infra- structure data collection. This finding is confirmed in both the literature review and case example interviews. The literature review and survey also provide significant detail on the attributes collected, with data about shoulders and sidewalks for projects on all state roadways collected most frequently. Survey findings indicate trail data are not collected comprehensively, while crossing and signal data are collected with the lowest frequency. Many states and regions use existing GIS data, as well as aerial imagery and other computer-based methods, to collect data on pedestrian infrastructure. Few agencies refer- ence fieldwork as a common data collection method. Most DOTs play a role in primary data collection; MPO/RTPO partners infrequently are mentioned as the only source of infrastructure data. The literature review and write-in survey answers also mention DOT field or district offices as sources of infrastructure data. Having multiple sources of pedes- trian data can result in complications in quality control, in turn creating data consistency issues and difficulties in aggregating data from multiple sources into a single database. Most DOTs have multiple methods for storing pedestrian infrastructure data, which may lead to data inconsistency and funding inefficiencies because data stored across multiple systems are not consistent or kept up to date. Data are available for download in 12 of 31 states that reported collection of pedestrian infrastructure data, and an additional 9 states reported that no formal data-sharing mecha- nism exists. The survey found that 12 states (39%) have a data maintenance plan, and several more currently are developing similar plans. However, these can vary with each dataset main- tained by the DOT. Case example participants indicated that data maintenance often was funding-dependent, and while data maintenance plans are in place for many states, they may not always cover pedestrian infrastructure data elements. Survey results indicate that most data collection and maintenance efforts are funded through multiple sources. Both the survey and literature review found that federal funding is most commonly used, with funding frequently provided through a larger line-item bud- get (e.g., maintenance). Project-specific funding (e.g., dedicated funding for an inventory effort) was infrequently cited. Case example participants noted that project-specific funding primarily was used in terms of developing as-builts that reflect the project record. Addition- ally, program budgets may be used to collect and maintain pedestrian transportation data specifically. The results from this synthesis identified several gaps in current knowledge that could be addressed by future research. The lack of consistency in data collected indicates the need to conduct research on the development of a standardized data collection scheme and related guidance or how established data schemes such as MIRE 2.0 can be efficiently leveraged and used by DOTs in expanded data collection efforts. Additional research into current and emerging best practices for collecting and manag- ing transportation infrastructure asset data â specifically pedestrian data â also is needed. Current pedestrian infrastructure data collection practices frequently are built on historical processes, such as relying on as-builts or out-of-date database systems, or on data collection
Summary 3 practices that are not carried through staffing changes, departmental reorganizations or other structural changes. Finally, the survey and case example interviews indicate the need to research ways to improve understanding among practitioners about common uses of pedestrian infra- structure data across various DOT departments. Specifically, research into the approach to pedestrian network development as it relates to federal guidelines was noted as a future research topic. Additional areas for targeted research include: â¢ Use of pedestrian infrastructure data to help prioritize maintenance activities. â¢ Further research into the validity and application of cell phone or Bluetooth-sourced data as they relate to demand. â¢ Understanding pedestrian demand patterns that capture a more comprehensive set of user types. â¢ Incorporating count information into a larger pedestrian planning process.