Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - safety/accidents, mode - mass transit, mode - bike, mode - pedestrian


User perception, Transportation modes, Transit, Trade off analysis, Time, Societal acceptance, Safety and security, Public transit, Pedestrians, Panel studies, Modes, Mass transit, Local transit, Level of service, Human comfort, Costs, Convenience, Comparison studies, Comfort, Bicycles, Automobiles, Alternatives analysis


Transportation professionals base the level of service (LOS) for automobile, bicycle, pedestrian, and transit modes on various criteria, and therefore the LOS is calculated differently for each mode. The current classification schemes make total transportation performance and multimodal trade-off decisions difficult to assess, and the measures do not reflect expectations. The primary objective of this Florida Department of Transportation research project was to identify new approaches for developing an LOS system that planners can use to assess automobile, bicycle, pedestrian, and transit modes of travel equally. Aided by a systematic creative thinking approach, an expert panel identified the perceived values, the feasibility, and the benefits of each alternative approach. The panel also identified the difficulties and cautions associated with each of the alternatives. Furthermore, the expert panel concluded that the fundamental need in developing a method to assess LOS equally across modes would be to correlate the levels for each mode with user perceptions. On the basis of group discussions and in consideration of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the panel postulated that a hierarchy of transportation user needs would consist of five levels: safety and security (the most basic need), time, societal acceptance, cost, and comfort and convenience (the highest need). The next task in developing a method to assess LOS equally across modes should be the scientific evaluation of the hypothesis of a transportation user hierarchy of needs to determine its validity and effectiveness.