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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-98-107
Date: February 1998
Capacity Analysis of Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities
Recommended Procedures for the "Pedestrians" Chapter of the Highway Capacity Manual
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In the United States, the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM), published by the Transportation Research Board (TRB), a unit of the National Research Council, provides guidance for the analysis of transportation facilities. Chapter 13 of the 1994 (update to the 1985) HCM discusses the operational and planning analysis of pedestrian facilities. The HCM pedestrian chapter begins by positing some relationships between pedestrian speed, flow, and density. It continues with analysis procedures for walkways, street corners, and crosswalks. Although offering the traffic engineer the means to analyze the most common pedestrian facilities, some of the procedures rely on incomplete and outdated information.This is unfortunate, because many intersections and walkways in downtown areas, near college campuses, by transit stops, etc., have moderate to heavy pedestrian flows, thus warranting accurate procedures (Figure 1).
The need for new procedures stems from reasons besides outdated methods, however. The heightened importance of "livability" in American communities presents the traffic engineer with the challenge to fully incorporate pedestrians in transportation analysis. The "Pedestrian Preamble" that opens the Florida Walkable Communities Guide provides a unique perspective of the role of the pedestrian in the transportation system: "This community, in providing for trip making, grants pedestrians and motorists of all ages and abilities: rights, privileges, safety, mobility, and access.... Intersections should not favor either motorist or pedestrian, but give equal service and support to both...." (Florida DOT, 1995; emphasis added).
This report summarizes the pedestrian characteristics-related recommendations from the companion volume, Literature Review for Chapter 13, Pedestrians, of the Highway Capacity Manual (Rouphail et al., 1998). It also includes a comprehensive set of recommended service measures of effectiveness, as well as methods for computing selected service measures. Finally, this report provides a summary of recommendations, including a listing of the affected subsections in Chapter 13 of the HCM. This summary is provided at the end of this chapter for ease of reference, and also at the conclusion of the report in section 5.
1.1 A Note on Liability
The current HCM provides curves for speeds greater than the maximum freeway speed limits at the time of publishing (TRB, 1994). Consistent with the HCM's demonstrated intent of reflecting actual conditions rather than legal thresholds, the recommendations contained in both this Recommended Procedures for Chapter 13, "Pedestrians." and in the companion Literature Synthesis for Chapter 13, "Pedestrians," (Rouphail et al., 1998) are to help achieve more realistic analytical procedures for the HCM. However, nothing in this Recommended Procedures for Chapter 13, "Pedestrians," or in the companion Literature Synthesis for Chapter 13, "Pedestrians," or in the Highway Capacity Manual, is to be construed as advocating the violation of traffic laws by either pedestrians or drivers. In addition, Recommended Procedures for Chapter 13, "Pedestrians," the companion Literature Synthesis for Chapter 13, "Pedestrians," and the Highway Capacity Manual should not be used as a defense for the violation of traffic laws in any of the States.