Where the Sidewalks End: Evaluating Pedestrian Infrastructure and Equality

Academic literature has scant research on sidewalks, and some cities are lacking information to rectify an unprecedented backlog of deteriorating pedestrian infrastructure. A lack of data stymies efforts to understand sidewalks, how they may impact equity, and how cities can prioritize where to begin to rectify these issues. Remote sensing data are beginning to increase the prevalence and accuracy of sidewalk infrastructure data. In this report, the authors leverage these advances in remote sensing to bridge the data and research gap on pedestrian infrastructure in cities. In Part 1, the authors analyze city-scale sidewalk availability, width, and land coverage calculated from spatial data from aerial imagery (planimetrics). In Part 2, the authors examine planimetric sidewalk data to evaluate relationships between the provision of sidewalk infrastructure and the socioeconomic status and sociodemographics of residents across sixteen cities. The Part 1 results show an overall deficiency of sidewalks and indicate that deriving sidewalk availability and average width are feasible at the city scale. In Part 2, the authors show that sidewalk availability had an inconsistent relationship to income, depending on the city. As for sociodemographics, non-white residents generally had wider sidewalks and greater availability. With a growing interest in active modes of transportation, and cities facing limited resources, this research helps bridge a much-needed gap in sidewalk infrastructure research and planning.

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This document was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    University of Colorado, Denver

    Department of Civil Engineering
    1200 Larimer Street, P.O. Box 173364
    Denver, CO  United States  80217-3364

    Mountain-Plains Consortium

    North Dakota State University
    Fargo, ND  United States  58108

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Coppola, Nicholas
    • Marshall, Wesley E
    • Janson, Bruce
  • Publication Date: 2021-10


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 49p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01789507
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: MPC-21-441
  • Contract Numbers: MPC-579
  • Created Date: Nov 30 2021 10:18AM