Thursday, August 18, 2016

Data-Based Transportation Planning Doesn't Necessarily Plan for Pedestrians/Bicyclists

Data-based planning isn't going to help these folks get
across the street.
In transportation planning, many decisions are based on data. Unfortunately, as an article from CityLab yesterday points out, there are large amounts of data available on some things (such as traffic counts and flows), and almost nothing about others (bike and pedestrian counts and patterns). CityLab says this car-centric data we have fundamentally warps decision-making and the problem could get worse as we come to rely more and more on data.

When you ask people about their experiences walking, you often hear horror stories of drivers who don't yield to pedestrians, a lack of sidewalks and sidewalks too close to speeding traffic, among other things. Because we, to some degree, lack the metrics to define and measure those complaints, the problems basically don't exist. This makes it difficult to design transportation systems that address these issues.

CityLab has lots more and it's interesting reading. Check out the entire article at the link above.


Charles Hansen said...

Great Article, I do admit I am guilty of not looking for pedestrians a lot because as they say few people walk anymore, and when I am a pedestrian I wonder if anyone sees me. Hope it helps planning more in the future.

SRTC Staff said...

Eve in our office said she was driving yesterday near her house and saw her own daughter standing on 29th Avenue trying to cross the street. She said no one would stop and when a driver in the nearest lane finally did, she was having a heart attack because it was obvious the people in the next lane didn't see her daughter and were going to blow right past the stopped car and probably hit her daughter. Everything turned out okay but I think you're right, we just don't notice pedestrians as much anymore and I think a lot of people don't think they need to stop for them.

Charles Hansen said...

Yes I have had that situation happen to me also, I really don't like for the cars to stop, I would rather wait for an opening where I can see all the lanes are empty and cross then.

SRTC Staff said...

I think that's the smartest move anymore.

About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.