Perspectives from a Pedestrian Capital

New York City is the walking capital of the United States. More than 10% of people walk as their primary means of transportation in the Big Apple. When combined with public transportation usage, this number approaches 80% in the peak hour in the CBD. However, walking is more than just a form of transportation in New York. David Gurin, former New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) Deputy Commissioner, said it best: “In New York City, walking is more than a way to get from place to place; it is an event in itself. City planning and policy should be attuned to the needs of pedestrians.” Since Mr. Gurin’s start at NYCDOT in 1978 through today, NYCDOT has encouraged pedestrian planning in all street designs. These include simplified crossings, increased time for pedestrian phases and converting asphalt to sidewalk and green space. New York has a high number of pedestrians for a number of reasons. It was a large, densely developed city long before the advent of the automobile and to this day is a model for application of mixed-use development. People are able to live, work, and be entertained all within convenient walking distances. This is coupled with one of the most extensive subway systems in the world, allowing most everything that is not within walking distance to be accessed with a train ride and a walk, thus eliminating the need for an automobile. This paper outlines a few of New York’s numerous design innovations that serve as an example to other densely populated, pedestrian rich cities.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE)

    Washington, DC  United States 

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Schwartz, Samuel I
    • Pagano, Tom
  • Conference:
  • Publication Date: 2008


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Features: Figures;
  • Pagination: 19p
  • Monograph Title: Compendium of Technical Papers. ITE 2008 Technical Conference and Exhibit, March 30-April 2, 2008, Miami, Florida

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01109121
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Aug 22 2008 8:43AM