Walk-to-transit demand estimation methods applied at the parcel level to improve pedestrian infrastructure investment

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, place - urban, mode - pedestrian, infrastructure, land use - planning, technology - geographic information systems, planning - methods, ridership - demand, ridership - mode choice


Pedestrian trip generation, Transit accessibility, GIS-based tool, Public transportation, Pedestrian infrastructure gap analysis


Public transportation is a critical component of cities' transportation system that can be supported by a safe, complete, and connected pedestrian infrastructure. Agencies spend millions of dollars each year to improve transit ridership, yet many of the transit destinations do not have adequate pedestrian infrastructure to connect to the transit stops creating a substantial barrier to growing demand. This is particularly true in suburban areas. This paper presents a replicable methodology for estimating relative parcel-level transit demand such that analysts can conduct fine-grained evaluation and prioritization of the pedestrian network enhancements as they relate to public transit system. To this end, pedestrian infrastructure can boost transit ridership and enhance riders' safety. We rely on spatial data available in most cities coupled with land use and socioeconomic data to generate potential relative number of walk-to-transit trips for each parcel and weight the occupied road segments based on the results from mode choice and gravity models. Using this GIS-based tool, we identify road segments that have a higher potential in serving as a walking path to transit stops and prioritize gaps in existing sidewalk infrastructure. This result eliminates arbitrary sidewalk investment scoring programs and the reliance on transit walksheds to direct investment. We apply this method to a case study of the city of Knoxville and discuss the challenges and possible solutions. This approach can help city planners and engineers in data-oriented investment strategic management of sidewalk enhancement programs that support transit.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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