Alternative forms of transportation (transit, bicycle, walking) are becoming increasingly more important to cities around the United States. Walking is the most readily available form to everyone and has no start-up fees. However, with high vehicle traffic volumes and large roads taking up much of the urban landscape, it can be difficult and sometimes dangerous to navigate cities on foot.
The City of St. Louis Park, Minnesota recently undertook an initiative to improve pedestrian safety at some of its busy, uncontrolled intersections. In this case, busy was defined as having average traffic between 9,000 and 25,000 vehicles per day at the crossing locations. With this criteria, 14 pedestrian crossings were identified for study. To be able to understand the current usage conditions at these locations, Traffic Data Inc. (TDI) was hired to collect pedestrian volume data at these 14 crossings.
TDI recorded 24 hour videos at each of these locations on spring days with clear weather (i.e. good walking days!). Using these videos, TDI counted pedestrians as they used the crosswalks on each of these busy roads. Pedestrians were counted in 15 minute intervals from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm at each location.
The amount of pedestrians varied significantly from site to site, with two locations having less than 10 pedestrians in the 16 hour period and one location having over 1,000 pedestrians in the same time period. This pedestrian volume data helped city staff determine the highest priority crossings for enhanced pedestrian treatments to improve safety. In addition to providing the pedestrian volume counts, TDI supplied the collected videos to the city for any additional observations desired, such as future comparisons of before and after implementing improvements.