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

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)

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The Shared-Use Path LOS Calculator is provided in the form of a spreadsheet. Programmed with the complete LOS model, it provides a one-page, user-friendly interface (worksheet) that allows the user to analyze up to five data sets. The calculator requires only four inputs to generate an LOS grade–trail width, presence of a centerline, trail user volume, and mode split for up to five user types (adult bicyclists, pedestrians, runners, in-line skaters, and child bicyclists).

The calculator is programmed in a Microsoft Excel ®™ spreadsheet file (filename: SUPLOS_Calculator_FHWA_2004) that can be acquired by downloading the file from the website of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) supported Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (www.bicyclinginfo.org or www.walkinginfo.org), or by ordering it on CD-ROM from the Information Center.

The calculator provides five data entry rows in which LOS can be tested on as many as five different trails or trail segments. Analysis scenarios can include different trails or diverse segments of the same trail. For details about the lengths of trail to which LOS calculations can be applied, see the box below.

Trail Length and LOS Calculations

Because the SUPLOS model is a link analysis tool, any single LOS score applies only to a trail segment having consistent width, striping, volume, and mode split characteristics throughout. A test segment must be at least 0.40 km (0.25 mi), but can be a number of kilometers (miles) long if the same input values are valid over the entire segment and there are no trail flow interruptions (stop signs, signals, or at-grade crossings) within the segment. The presence of flow interruptions, points of access (that significantly diminish or increase the volume, or change the mode split), or changes in trail width or surface will necessitate segmenting the trail for the purposes of LOS evaluation, and each segment will need its own unique set of input data.



The Shared-Use Path LOS Calculator should be opened in Excel. Enable Macros should be selected in the first dialogue box. If not already selected, the Trail_LOS_Calculator tab at the bottom of the window should be selected. This will open the calculator worksheet.

The calculator provides five data entry rows in which LOS can be tested on as many as five different trails or trail segments at one time. The first row of the calculator includes example data for a typical trail, based on the average volumes and mode splits found on the 15 trails included in this study.

Entering Data

Before beginning the data entry process, review the previous chapter and the discussion about data requirements. Based on that discussion, assemble the data necessary to conduct your analysis.

  1. The first column provides a cell to enter the trail or segment name. Type in a name or segment identifier.
  2. The second column provides a cell for trail width. Enter a number representing the desired width in feet. Widths may be entered in 0.5-ft increments, i.e., 8.0, 8.5, 9.0, etc. (1 ft = 0.305 m).
  3. The third column asks if the trail has (or will have) a centerline. Type in a 1 for yes or a 0 for no.
  4. The fourth column provides a cell for one-way trail volume per hour. Enter a representative number.
  5. Columns five through nine provide cells for mode split. Entries may or may not use decimal increments in tenths. (Decimal increments in hundredths should be rounded to tenths.) The sum of the 5 mode splits should total exactly 100, or an error message will appear above the data entry row.
  6. Data entries cannot be made in any of the spreadsheet cells other than those described above.

Once all of the numeric inputs are entered, columns 11 and 12 will automatically calculate the LOS score and provide an LOS grade.

Interpreting Results

In the upper right-hand corner of the spreadsheet, a scale is provided that correlates the score with the appropriate grade. In general, grades A–C represent acceptable levels of service, whereas D–F are degraded levels of service. See chapter 3 for a full discussion on interpreting LOS grades.

Copying and Printing Results

The calculator worksheet provides five data entry rows to test LOS on as many as five different trails or trail segments at one time. Once five scenarios have been entered, the whole sheet may be copied or converted to a word processing or spreadsheet file to create a permanent record of these cases and results. Once the information has been pasted into a new file, revision of model calculations will not be possible in that new document.

Using the regular print commands, the results may be printed directly from Excel or by printing the file to which copies have been saved.

By copying and saving the results to another file, the calculator can be used multiple times without losing the results of previous scenarios.

Returning to the Default Mode Split

For convenience, the calculator worksheet has been designed with a separate one-click button to reset the default mode split for each row.



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