Development of an analytical framework to rank pedestrian and cyclist projects.
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Development of an analytical framework to rank pedestrian and cyclist projects.

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      Worsening traffic congestion and air pollution, rising road maintenance and construction costs, and escalating health risks from obesity to cardiovascular disease are among major motives triggering the attention of transportation authorities to walking and cycling. Increasing local demands to improve pedestrian/cyclist facilities place a burden on public authorities to balance limited resources with increasing demand. Fund scarcity is the major impediment to satisfy a high demand received from communities in all levels particularly from urban and suburban communities to improve cyclist and pedestrian facilities. To allocate funds to the most worthy and deserving projects, many standards, and procedures are followed by public agencies (nationally and globally) to prioritize projects for funding. Review of practices nationwide has shown that no acceptable standard follows by States and local governments and each state or even county has developed their own methodology to score and rank projects. To facilitate decision makers in prioritizing improvement projects, the study developed a ranking methodology and measurement technique to score each improvement project recommended to lessen the deficiencies of pedestrian/cyclist facility. This measurement promotes the most efficient use of available capital. To achieve this objective, the metrics must be: 1) quantifiable – to be measured and numerated, 2) accessible and obtainable – to be estimated using data typically compiled by most transport agencies, 3) applicable – to be deployed in the field seamlessly, and 4) meritorious – to be identified as critical factors by most agencies. The study delineates seven determinants to measure the effectiveness of each proposed project and rank them for funding: 1) Safety score utilizing crash rate, 2) Safety effectiveness score utilizing Crash Modification Factor (CMF), 3) Mobility score utilizing accessibility and connectivity scores, 4) Cost score utilizing implementation/capital cost, 5) Equity score utilizing socioeconomic feature (i.e. income), 6) Demand score utilizing the labor force population density, and 7) Qualitative score utilizing questionnaire documenting professional expert opinion. All determinants’ values are categorized into six classes using different scaling systems to facilitate a homogenous comparison among all determinants. The crash score is derived by the utilization of quartile scaling on the estimated crash rate (pedestrian/cyclist crashes occurred within the period of 2005-2011 per 100,000 population). Safety effectiveness score is yielded by utilizing the CMF of the proposed projects using CMF clearing house. The Jenks scaling system is utilized on the CMF data to derive the safety effectiveness score of the proposed project. To estimate connectivity scores for pedestrian and cyclist projects, a number of intersecting roadways (in different radiuses) are leveraged to yield the connectivity score. The accessibility score is estimated by the closeness of the proposed projects to major attraction places, i.e. downtown, CBD, shopping center, school. The final mobility score is calculated by averaging the connectivity and accessibility scores. The equity score of each city is computed using the inverse proportionate scaling on the median incomes. The demand score is yielded from the estimation of labor force population density and utilizing the proportional ranking. The capital costs of the proposed/planned improvements are leveraged to yield the cost score. The Jenks scaling technique is used to score cost determinant.
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