U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
202-366-4000


Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration

Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

 
Report
This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-05-138
Date: July 2006

Shared-Use Path Level of Service Calculator

A User's Guide

PDF Version (1298 KB)

PDF files can be viewed with the Acrobat® Reader®

Download the Shared Use Path Level of Service Calculator (Microsoft® Excel® format) 4.20 MB

 

Research and Development
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center
U.S. Department of Transportation
6300 Georgetown Pike
Federal Highway Administration
McLean, Virginia 22101-2296

Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety

 

FOREWORD

Shared-use paths are paved, off-road facilities designed for travel by a variety of nonmotorized users, including bicyclists, pedestrians, skaters, runners, and others. Shared-use path planners and designers face a serious challenge in determining how wide paths should be and whether the various modes of travel should be separated from each other. Currently, very little substantive guidance is available to aid in those decisions.

This document describes how to use a new method to analyze the quality of service provided by shared-use paths of various widths that accommodate various travel mode splits. Given a count or an estimate of the overall path user volume in the design hour, the new method described here can provide the level of service (LOS) for path widths ranging from 2.4 to 6.1 meters (8.0 to 20.0 feet). The document describes in detail the input data needed to begin using the method, provides step-by-step instructions, and provides example applications of the new method. This document also describes how to use a spreadsheet calculation tool called SUPLOS that was also developed as part of the same effort and that is being circulated by the Federal Highway Administration.

The information in this document should be of interest to planners, engineers, park and recreation professionals, and others involved in the planning, design, operation, and/or maintenance of shared-use paths. In addition, this document will be of interest to researchers investigating how to analyze multiple modes of travelers in a finite space with minimal traffic control.

Michael F. Trentacoste
Director, Office of Safety
Research and Development

Notice

This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.

 

TECHNICAL REPORT DOCUMENTATION PAGE

1. Report No.

FHWA-HRT-05-138

2. Government Accession No. 3. Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle

Shared-Use Path Level of Service Calculator–A User's Guide

5. Report Date

July 2006

6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)

R.S. Patten, R.J. Schneider, J.L. Toole, J.E. Hummer and N.M. Rouphail

8. Performing Organization Report No.
9. Performing Organization Name and Address

North Carolina State University
Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering
Raleigh, NC 27695-7908

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)
11. Contract or Grant No.

DTFH61-00-R-00070

12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Office of Safety Research and Development
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

User's Guide

September 2000 – May 2005
14. Sponsoring Agency Code
15. Supplementary Notes:

Contracting Officer's Technical Representative (COTR): Ann Do, HRDS-06

16. Abstract

Shared-use paths are becoming increasingly busy in many places in the United States. Path designers and operators need guidance on how wide to make new or rebuilt paths and whether to separate the different types of users. The current guidance is not very specific, has not been calibrated to conditions in the United States, and does not accommodate the range of modes found on a typical U.S. path. The purpose of this project was to develop a level of service (LOS) estimation method for shared-use paths that overcomes these limitations. The research included the development of the theory of traffic flow on a path, an extensive effort to collect data on path operations, and a survey during which path users expressed their degree of satisfaction with the paths shown on a series of videos.

Based on the theory developed and the data collected, the researchers developed an LOS estimation method for bicyclists that requires minimal input and produces a simple and useful result. The method requires only four inputs from the user: One-way user volume in the design hour, mode split percentages, trail width, and presence or absence of a centerline. Factors involved in the estimation of an LOS for a path include the number of times a typical bicyclist meets or passes another path user and the number of those passes that are delayed. The method considers five types of path users when calculating adult bicyclists' LOS, including other adult bicyclists, child bicyclists, pedestrians, runners, and in-line skaters.

This report provides step-by-step instructions on how to use the LOS procedure and spreadsheet calculation tool, which can be downloaded from the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center Web site at www.tfhrc.org. Other products of the effort include FHWA-HRT-05-137 Evaluation of Safety, Design, and Operation of Shared-Use Paths: Final Report, which documents the research and the spreadsheet calculation tool and is the basis of FHWA-HRT-05-139 Evaluation of Safety, Design, and Operation of Shared-Use Paths TechBrief.

17. Key Words

Path, trail, bicycle, shared-use, LOS, width, pedestrian, in-line skater

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161, telephone (703) 487-4650.

19. Security Classif. (of this report)

Unclassified

20. Security Classif. (of this page)

Unclassified

21. No. of Pages

67

22. Price
From DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of form and completed page is authorized

 


SI* (Modern Metric) Conversion Factors


 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. INTRODUCTION

2. AN OVERVIEW OF THE RESEARCH

3. LOS FOR SHARED–USE PATHS

4. APPLYING THE MODEL TO YOUR TRAIL

5. INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING THE SHARED–USE PATH LOS CALCULATOR

6. IMPLICATIONS OF THIS RESEARCH FOR TRAIL DESIGN

7. EXAMPLE APPLICATIONS: FICTIONAL CASE STUDIES

APPENDIX A. STUDY TRAIL PROFILES

APPENDIX B. FACTORS USED IN THE LOS MODEL

APPENDIX C. LOS LOOK–UP TABLES

REFERENCES

 


LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1. Equation. Basic SUPLOS model

Figure 2. Screen capture. Existing conditions LOS analysis

Figure 3. Screen capture. LOS for selected design widths

Figure 4. Screen capture. LOS for 10–year projected volumes and selected design widths

 


LIST OF TABLES

Table 1. Variations in trail user volume

Table 2. Variations in trail user mix (mode split)

Table 3. Data profile for the average trail

Table 4. Average speed by mode

Table 5. SUPLOS scale

Table 6. Interpreting SUPLOS grades

Table 7. Study trail level of service grades and characteristics

Table 8. Correlation of trail widths and operational lanes

Table 9. Selected cross sections

Table 10. Volume and mode split estimates to test in the calculator

Table 11. Factors used in the shared–use path LOS model

Table 12. Shared–use path level of service look–up table, typical mode split

Table 13. Shared–use path level of service look–up table, high bicycle mode split

Table 14. Shared–use path level of service look–up table, high pedestrian mode split

Table 15. Shared–use path service volume look–up table, typical mode split

Table 16. Shared–use path service volume look–up table, high bicycle mode split

Table 17. Shared–use path service volume look–up table, high pedestrian mode split

 


SHARED USE PATH LEVEL OF SERVICE CALCULATOR

Trail LOS Calculator

Delayed Passings Input Output 1

Delayed Passings Input Output 2

Delayed Passings Input Output 3

Delayed Passings Input Output 4

Delayed Passings Input Output 5

User Perception Input Output

Active Bicyclist

Active Pedestrian

Active Runner

Active Inline Skater

Active Child Bicyclist

Meetings Bicyclist

Meetings Pedestrian

Meetings Runner

Meetings Inline Skater

Meetings Child Bicyclist

Download the (Microsoft® Excel® format)

 

FHWA-HRT-05-138

Table of Contents | Next

ResearchFHWA
FHWA
United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration