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Applying International Best Practice: Measuring and Improving the Performance of Pedestrian Environments


TRL, the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory, has developed a method for quantifiably measuring the performance of pedestrian facilities. Although guidance exists in terms of the design for new facilities, historically there has been less effort in understanding how existing facilities perform in terms of pedestrian safety, accessibility and comfort. The method, called PERS, divides pedestrian environments into separate components commonly found in the walking environment: Sections of footway, Crossing points, Public transit stops, Interchanges between modes of transport, Public spaces, Walking routes. For each component, a comprehensive set of data is collected and analyzed, based on detailed research undertaken by TRL over the past decade. The method is repeatable, results are comparable and it is used for highlighting individual and systemic performance issues. Often it is more cost effective for agencies to repair and replace poorly performing elements rather than designing and installing facilities from scratch. The main strength of the PERS method is the ability to understand where investment needs to be targeted, both through the provision of low-cost, quick to remedy recommendations through to the need for longer term upgrades. Developed with guidance from Transport for London, TRL has used the PERS method to audit over 150 miles of London’s streets to date, resulting in measurable improvements for pedestrians across the UK’s capital now and in the future, including planning for pedestrians at local, strategic and highly specialized levels. Understanding that basic non-motorized user requirements are the same the world over, TRL has also undertaken specialized project work across Europe, Australasia and South Africa, with a variety of success stories and lessons learnt which are relevant for agency planners, engineers and active transportation practitioners. This paper and its contents are Copyright Transport Research Laboratory May 2011. The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of TAC.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Ms. Ellie Gould
Road safety