Despite its prevalence as a transportation mode, walking receives far less attention than the motor vehicle mode in terms of national guidance and methods to support planning, designing, and operating safe, functional, and comfortable facilities.


Kittelson partnered with Portland State University and the Highway Safety Research Center at the University of North Carolina to lead research to update Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) pedestrian analysis methodologies. A major portion of the research evaluated the effects of safety countermeasures at street crossings on pedestrian quality of service (QOS). Other research tasks improved HCM pedestrian delay methodologies, developed an HCM-compatible technique to evaluate the quality of networks of pedestrian facilities, and synthesized best practices for estimating pedestrian volumes and exposure. Our objectives were to Identify techniques to efficiently and accurately estimate pedestrian volume and exposure, determine field-observed factors affecting pedestrian flow on pedestrian facilities, discover how pedestrian safety improvements on the roadway and in signal timing designs could be reflected in the HCM’s pedestrian level of service (LOS) and develop corresponding enhancements to current HCM pedestrian methodologies.

Using pedestrian intercept surveys, video data collection, and a naturalistic walking study using biosensing wristbands, our research team investigated how the presence of specific pedestrian safety countermeasures (e.g., marked crosswalks, median island refuges, rectangular rapid-flashing beacons, leading pedestrian intervals) affects pedestrian satisfaction while crossing the street.

The Outcome

NCHRP Project 17-87: Enhancing Pedestrian Volume Estimation and Developing HCM Pedestrian Methodologies for Safe and Sustainable Communities

Our research led to the following products that will be released in 2021:

  • An NCHRP research report, Guide to Pedestrian Analysis,which documents the state-of-the-practice for pedestrian volume counting, pedestrian safety analysis, pedestrian operations analysis, and pedestrian QOS analysis
  • New and updated HCM pedestrian methodologies that will be included in the HCM 6.1 update:
    • A new method for evaluating pedestrian satisfaction and associated LOS at uncontrolled pedestrian crossings
    • An updated method for estimating pedestrian delay at uncontrolled pedestrian crossings, including up-to-date information on motorist yielding rates for a wide variety of safety countermeasures
    • An updated method for estimating pedestrian delay at signalized crossings covering a wider range of situations, including two-stage crossings, two-leg crossings, exclusive pedestrian phases, and crosswalk closures
    • An update to the “roadway crossing difficulty” component of the HCM’s urban street pedestrian LOS method
  • Spreadsheet-based computational engines to estimate pedestrian delay and LOS and uncontrolled crossings, and pedestrian delay at signalized crossings
  • Presentation material for a TRB webinar
  • A video introducing the Guide to Pedestrian Analysis
  • Draft text to update NCHRP Report 825: Planning and Preliminary Engineering Applications Guide to the HCMto match the proposed HCM changes and incorporate a recommended approach to evaluating pedestrian network QOS




National Academy of Sciences


National Research