Creating and using new performance measures for transportation projects and the transportation system is essential. It helps agencies ensure if they are on the right track — and helps them celebrate their new way of doing business. Performance data for all modes is not a luxury. Hard figures documenting the performance of Complete Streets implementation can become a powerful selling point for future projects and funding.
The first challenge is agreeing to a set of performance measures. Community members, leaders, and staff have varying needs and demands from the transportation system, such as mode shift, decreases in chronic disease, better air quality, retail vacancy rates, and roadway safety. Further, traditional measures can be difficult to change or adapt to multimodal needs. These challenges have meant that very few communities have tackled the creation of new performance measures in any systematic way.
Yet, there are relatively easy ways to demonstrate Complete Streets success. Communities can measure progress by simply counting the facilities they are building, such as blocks of new or repaired sidewalks; number of bus stops with shelters; miles of new bicycle facilities; and installation of pedestrian countdown signals. Communities can also account for maintenance activities such as repairs to curb ramps and repainted bicycle lanes or crosswalks. Tracking such facilities demonstrates that the community is making on-the-ground changes each year. If packaged and made publicly available at the close of each year, these numbers can add to a community’s efforts in improving education and awareness of Complete Streets.
A growing number of communities are counting the number of people walking and bicycling. Such counts have not traditionally been taken in most communities on a regular basis, though new tools and techniques have made this a more common activity today. Monitoring non-motorized data allows jurisdictions to monitor trends across the network and along key corridors.
Another simple step toward performance measurement is at the project level, where data collection can show the direct and immediate benefits of a transportation investment. Such information can be especially powerful with road conversions, which typically show an immediate reduction in speeding, a dramatic reduction in crashes and crash severity, and, sometimes, an increase in non-motorized use or even user satisfaction.
Once a community has established transportation-oriented performance measures, transportation staff can work with other agencies and departments to link them to larger goals such as long-term changes to public health, economic growth, and the physical environment. Such measures require collaboration with and leadership from other departments, sectors, and often universities.
- Track multi-modal projects by:
- Counting facilities or miles of facilities such as sidewalks, bike lanes, and street trees,
- Counting intersections improved by signal timing, medians, count down timers, bulb outs, and other improvements,
- Tracking dollar amounts or percentage of funds used for each mode, and
- On-road transit performance such as the percentage of buses running on time and average speed
- Track (or work with another agency to track) broader community performance measures such as:
- Air quality improvement as measured by ground-level ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide,
- Health indicators such as incidence of chronic disease or rates of physical activity,
- Housing + transportation affordability,
- Response time of emergency responders,
- Transit operating costs and farebox recovery ratio,
- Economic impact, such as the decreases in vacancies, changes in revenue, and the number of new jobs created in proximity of multimodal streets and near transit.
- Adopt or revise transportation performance measures. New performance measures may include:
- Deaths and injuries by mode,
- Crashes by mode and type, including ‘doorings’ and pedestrians accessing transit,
- Mode shift, such as bike, walk and transit trips over time,
- Percentage of children walking and bicycling to school,
- Corridor impact analysis,
- Travel times and delays for all modes,
- Automobile Trips Generated (ATG),
- Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) or Single Occupancy Vehicle (SOV) trip reduction, and/or
- Multimodal Level of Service, Pedestrian Level of Service, or Bicycle Level of Service.
- Provide regular reports to the public on the data being tracked or the agency progress on Complete Streets performance measures.
- Changed philosophy and attitude to implement Complete Streets and stop primarily building and maintaining ‘incomplete’ streets.
- Transportation departments should not be the only ones to track performance. They can collobarate with others to collect and analyze data, including the health department and public health organizations; law enforcement agencies and emergency responders; and advocacy groups, including those focused on equity.
- Use rates, rather than straight numbers, to show changes in safety and mode shift over time.
- Establish baseline data so as to better illustrate successes.
- Be clear about measuring outputs (such as blocks of sidewalks built or repaired) versus outcomes (such as increases in walking rates).
- Create metrics that are specific to community goals.
- National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project
- Standard Manual Bicycle and Pedestrian Screenline Count Form, Minnesota Department of Transportation
- 2012 Bike Walk Twin Cities Pedestrian and Bicycle Count Report, Minneapolis and its surrounding communities
- Pedestrian Counts, Seattle
- Bicycle and Pedestrian Counts, Minneapolis
Health Impact Assessments and Environmental Audits
- Community Transportation Plan Health Impact Assessment, Decatur, Georgia
- Pedestrian Environmental Quality Index, San Francisco
- Bicycle Environmental Quality Index, San Francisco
- Vehicle-Pedestrian Injury Collision Model, San Francisco
- Bicycling Environmental Audit Tool, Philadelphia
- Walkability Assessment Tool, Philadelphia
- Planning & Health Indicator List & Assessment Tool, Philadelphia
- Bottineau Transitway Health Impact Assessment, Hennepin County, Minnesota
- Pedestrian Master Plan Performance Measures and Targets, Seattle
- Sustainable Communities Index Transportation Objectives and Indicators, San Francisco
- Active Transportation Monitoring Plan, Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (Austin, Texas region)
- 2012 Long Range Transportation Plan Report Card, Champaign Urbana Urbanized Area Transportation Study, Illinois
- Boston Indicators Project
Adopted Performance Measures
- Transportation Performance Measures and CEQA Thresholds, Pasadena, CA (2014)
Citizen Surveys and Travel Diaries
- Citizen Attitude Surveys, Corvallis, Oregon
- Employee Surveys, Boulder, Colorado
- Trip Diary Survey, Flagstaff, Arizonaf
Before and After Studies
- Summary Report: Evaluation of Lane Reduction “Road Diet” Measures and Their Effects on Crashes and Injuries, Federal Highway Administration
- Nickerson Street Rechannelization: Before and After Report, Seattle
- Valencia Street Road Diet — Creating Space for Cyclists, Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
- 25th Avenue Road Diet Project: A One Year Evaluation, San Francisco
- Edgewater Drive Before & After Re-Striping Results, Orlando, Florida
- Making Safer Streets, New York City
- The Economic Benefits of Sustainable Streets, New York City
Multimodal Level of Service (MMLOS)
- MMLOS Toolkit, Fehr & Peers
- Highway Capacity Manual 2010, Transportation Resource Board
- Multimodal Level of Service at Signalized Intersections, Charlotte, North Carolina
- Pedestrian and Bicycle Level of Service at Signalized Intersections, Charlotte, North Carolina
- Transit Service – Level of Service Guidelines, Pedestrian Facilities ‐ Level of Service Guidelines, and Bicycle Facilities ‐ Level of Service Guidelines, 2030 Regional Transportation Plan, Flagstaff, Arizona
- Auto Level of Service Reform, San Francisco
- Expanded Transportation Performance Measures to Supplement Level of Service (LOS) for Growth Management and Transportation Impact Analysis, Florida Department of Transportation
- Measuring the Street: New Metrics for 21st Century Streets, New York City
- Sustainable Streets Index, New York City
- Annual Reports, Seattle
- 2013 Benchmarking Report, Billings, Montana
- 2012 Transportation Report on Progress, Boulder, Colorado
- 2011 Mobility Report Card, Redmond, Washington
- 2012-13 Annual Report, Connecticut Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board
- Annual Report 2012, Michigan Complete Streets Advisory Council
- Implementation Reports, Lee County, Florida
- 2012 State of Cycling Report, San Francisco
- Trip Generation Tool for Mixed-Use Developments, U.S. EPA and Institute of Transportation Engineers, 2011
- Auto Trip Generation Study, San Francisco County Transportation Authority, 2008
- Getting Trip Generation Right: Eliminating the Bias Against Mixed Use Development, Jerry Walters, Brian Bochner, and Reid Ewing, American Planning Association PAS Memo, May 2013
- Decisions, Values, and Data: Understanding Bias in Transportation Performance Measures, Eric Dumbaugh, Ph.D., AICP, Jeffrey Tumlin, and Wesley E. Marshall, Ph.D., PE, ITE Journal, August 2014
- Counting Bicyclists and Pedestrians to Inform Transportation Planning, Active Living Research, a National Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, February 2013
- Performance Measures for Complete, Green Streets: A Proposal for Urban Arterials in California, University of California Transportation Center
- Traffic Monitoring for Non-Motorized Traffic, Federal Highway Administration
- Performance Measures, Urban Streets Design Guide, National Association of City Transportation Officials
- Measuring Active Transportation: Recommendations for Colorado, Kaiser Permanente Colorado
- Driven Apart: How Sprawl is Lengthening Our Commutes and Why Misleading Mobility Measures are Making Things Worse, Joe Cortright, CEOs for Cities
- Toward More Comprehensive and Multi-modal Transport Evaluation, Todd Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Institute
- Evaluating Complete Streets: The Value of Designing Roads For Diverse Modes, Users and Activities, Victoria Transport Policy Institute
- Greenroads Rating System, Greenroads Foundation