Fehr & Peers has developed an innovative, objective, GIS-based tool, known as Active+, for project prioritization within bicycle and pedestrian planning. Originally created for Sacramento’s award-winning and nationally recognized Pedestrian Master Plan, the tool assesses various geographic areas (i.e. street segments, intersections) in terms of their intrinsic potential to attract a specific level of walking or bicycling activity. This tool has been customized in the years since for application in numerous jurisdictions. It has also been enhanced to serve as a validated pedestrian and bicycle volume forecasting tool in addition to a prioritization tool. We are currently exploring additional variables to be included in the tool, as well as developing methodologies to fully integrate the tool into a multi-modal forecasting model (VISUM).
How it Works
In its base-mode as a qualitative tool, Active+ uses a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) methodology to assess a community’s non-motorized transportation needs and prioritize improvements. The process for identifying the top priority locations was adapted from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Smart Growth INDEX. The product is an overall index of the areas with the highest potential (i.e., supportive land use, demographic and socio-economic factors) and worst facilities (i.e., areas lacking sidewalks, bicycle lanes, street lighting, etc.). The premise is that non-motorized improvements in these areas will have the greatest safety benefits and achieve the largest increases in the number of people walking and bicycling. Active+ can be refined from this framework for use as a quantitative forecasting tool, offering either quick-response, off-model capabilities or in-line modeling enhancements.
Fehr & Peers has developed and implemented a number of non-motorized network prioritization or index models for jurisdictions including Sacramento County, Ventura, Pleasanton, and AC Transit. A bicycle and pedestrian volume regression model was created for the City of Santa Monica as part of their General Plan Land Use and Circulation Element update. The process produced locally validated bicycle and pedestrian intersection volumes for all intersections in the City.
More recently, Fehr & Peers collaborated with UC Berkeley SafeTREC, SFMTA, and SFCTA to develop a pedestrian exposure (demand) model for the City of San Francisco. The San Francisco pedestrian volume modeling process refined the methodology used in previous intersection-based models and incorporated variables that were tailored to estimate walking activity in the local urban context. A paper summarizing the San Francisco model was published in 2012 in the Transportation Research Record.
As part of our work for Google, we have expanded upon the previous work from Santa Monica and San Francisco to integrate a bicycle and pedestrian trip-assignment component embedded within a full travel demand model. The Google model, developed using VISUM, represents a promising next step in the evolution of travel forecasting techniques for bicycles and pedestrians.
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