Pedestrian Rating System

The UC Berkeley Center for Research Efficient Communities (CREC) Pedestrian Rating System tool will provide a simple grade or rating to the physical quality of sidewalks for pedestrian activity.  It will be designed to incorporate the full range of street design factors that influence pedestrian behavior in a range of urban development types from urban downtowns to low-density suburban areas.  The rating system will be designed to function at both individual block and travel analysis zone scales to allow eventual incorporation into travel demand modeling, and will also partially serve as a substitute for current pedestrian level of service (LOS) assessments. This rating system will apply to the quality of the streets in providing utility, comfort, safety, and enjoyment for pedestrians, as opposed to the proximity of individual parcels to urban amenities (which is what WalkScore measures).  It will be designed to place the most weight upon the street design improvements that will matter the most in reducing vehicle trips within a given urban development context.

The intended potential applications of the rating system include use as:

  • A post-processing adjustment factor in the traditional four-step transportation models that guide MPOs’ capital planning for transportation infrastructure in most of California;
  • A model input in newer economic and activity-based transportation models, such as the Sacramento Area Council of Governments’ “SacSim” model, the new California Statewide Travel Demand and Integrated Interregional Models, and the Production, Exchange, and Consumption Allocation System (PECAS) model;
  • A “gap analysis” tool to identify which pedestrian infrastructure investments in a given region will leverage the greatest reductions in VMT and GHG emissions;
  • A standard in local general plans to require a certain level of pedestrian quality in specific locations within a municipality, such as areas within short distances of transit stops or other popular pedestrian destinations;
  • A substitute for the misleading pedestrian LOS assessments that are often used in project impact assessments under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA); and
  • A standard to be used in negotiations between local municipalities and project developers about investments in the public realm associated with a given project.

This study is being conducted at UC Berkeley. To learn more about the California Center for Sustainable Community research partners, please
click here.