Guidebook for Developing Pedestrian and Bicycle Performance Measures

This guidebook is intended to help communities develop performance measures that can fully integrate pedestrian and bicycle planning in ongoing performance management activities.

by Federal Highway Administration

As more agencies plan, fund, and implement transportation projects that enhance walking and bicycling, they are seeking methods to aid in objectively planning and prioritizing their investments. In a constrained funding environment, it is critical to be able to identify the projects and investments that will provide the highest level of benefit. More agencies are using multiple transportation performance measures to track progress, develop effective solutions to needs, and prioritize needs and investments.

Transportation agencies use performance measures to assess the effectiveness of a wide range of activities, and all are fundamentally oriented toward understanding how a transportation system works and impacts users. No single measure can fully describe the nuances of transportation experience across all travel modes, so many agencies consider multiple measures throughout the transportation planning process.

Performance measures can be used in a variety of applications and at a variety of scales. Some performance measures are targeted at prioritization. For example, a local jurisdiction could use bicycle level of service to identify the designated bicycle routes with the greatest need for improvements. State agencies may use performance measures to benchmark annual progress towards statewide policies and goals. For example, “pedestrian fatalities” are often monitored annually to determine whether statewide policies are improving pedestrian safety.

This guidebook is intended for practitioners and is designed to help local, regional, and State agencies select and apply performance measures for a variety of purposes. Many of the transportation performance measures included are useful for tracking and measuring progress towards complimentary goals such as health and economic development. The performance measures are organized in a toolbox that includes definitions, data sources, context, and examples of applications.

Published March 2016

About the Author

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), part of the US Department of Transportation, provides expertise, resources, and information to improve the nation's highway system and its intermodal connections. The Federal-Aid Highway Program provides financial assistance to the States to construct and improve the National Highway System, other roads, bridges, and trails.

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