The need for robust methods that can accurately measure bicycle and walking activity has long been recognized, particularly in relation to land use. Many planning agencies are trying to assess the potential for smart growth and other land use options to increase bicycling and walking and reduce motor vehicle use. There is a substantial lack of credible bicycle and walking data. Existing national data sources document a particular segment of bicycling or walking trips (e.g., U.S. Census Journey-to-Work data) or document all bicycling or walking trips at large geography such as state or aggregations of metropolitan areas (e.g., the National Household Travel Survey or other household travel surveys). However, there is a lack of consistent methodologies to understand bicycling and walking activity, and relationships to demographic, social, and physical factors are not well understood. Consistent methodologies and credible data would enhance local and regional planning to evaluate bicycle and pedestrian needs.
The objective of this research is to prepare a guidebook for practitioners on estimating and forecasting bicycling and walking activity. The guidebook will include transferable methods for practitioners working on regional-, corridor-, and project-level analysis to estimate and forecast bicycling and walking activity in relation to transportation infrastructure characteristics, land use, topography, weather/climate, and socio-demographic characteristics.
(1). Critically review the domestic and international state of practice and research on factors, methods, and data collection practices on bicycling and walking. The review should recognize the differences between walking and bicycling. Factors to review should include, but not be limited to, (a) transportation infrastructure characteristics, (b) land use, (c) topography, (d) weather/climate, and (e) socio-demographic characteristics. Modeling methods to review should include regional-, corridor-, and project-level analysis and should include, but not be limited to, (a) traditional models that incorporate non-motorized travel, (b) sketch planning tools, and (c) network and simulation models. Data collection practices to review should include, but not be limited to, (a) counts, (b) intercept surveys, and (c) household surveys. Prepare a technical memorandum providing the results of this task for NCHRP review. The technical memorandum should (a) delineate variables/factors that are important to consider in models and which methods/models address these factors, (b) describe the existing sources of data that potentially can feed into these methods, and (c) address gaps in the understanding of causal relationships affecting bicycling and walking activity and methods and data that need to be considered in the course of subsequent tasks.
(2). Analyze a wide variety of data sources on bicycling and walking behavior (e.g., household travel survey and count data) and factors that influence travel behavior as identified in Task 1 (e.g., infrastructure data and land use data). Explain current data availability and limitations. Based on the analysis, identify potential datasets and describe a recommended approach to develop methods in Task 4.
(3). Within 8 months of award of contract, submit an interim report that (a) documents the results of Tasks 1 and 2, (b) provides the proposed approach for conducting Task 4, and (c) provides a detailed outline of the guidebook. Approximately 1 month after submitting the interim report, meet with the project panel to discuss the report and remaining tasks. Based on NCHRP approval, proceed to Task 4.
(4). Develop and validate transferable method(s) for estimating and forecasting bicycling and walking trips. The method(s) should consider data availability issues, differing analysis needs, transferable parameters, and model sensitivities. The method(s) developed should be scalable or applicable for regional-, corridor-, and project-level analyses and should be useful in assessing the effect of different land use scenarios on walking and bicycling. Provide a technical memorandum providing the results of this task for NCHRP review and approval.
(5). Document the data needs for these method(s) along with limitations, suggested sources, and recommended methods for collection of additional data. Provide examples of best practices in data collection.
(6). Describe future research and data needs. Describe the potential for developing and maintaining a national database for measuring and monitoring bicycling and walking trends and improving on estimation and forecasting methods. Prepare a technical memorandum providing results of Tasks 5 and 6 for NCHRP review.
(7). Prepare the guidebook with an executive summary. The guidebook should provide a step-by-step approach to practitioners on the use of the Task 4 methods, including limitations. Also prepare a final report documenting the background material used in preparing the guidebook.
STATUS: A kick-off meeting was held on May 5, 2010. A technical memorandum on tasks 1 and 2 was received in August 2010 and was reviewed. The project interim report was delivered in March 2011. Tasks 4 and 5 are currently underway. A draft final report is expected in May/June 2013.