Document Type


Publication Date



It is necessary to design and evaluate the effectiveness of walking facilities to accommodate the needs of all pedestrian groups, including individuals with disabilities. The Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) defines walking facility performance using a qualitative measure describing operational conditions, or level of service (LOS). However, how closely pedestrian LOS thresholds correspond to actual conditions are questionable. To overcome the limitations, a controlled large-scaled walking experiment involving individuals with disabilities was conducted at Utah State University (USU). A temporary circuit with the necessary walking facilities was constructed using eight foot self-standing walls. In total, 202 (160 without and 42 with disabilities) individuals were recruited to participate in the experiments and they were asked to pass through the circuit repeatedly. Individuals were tracked using the camera system and trajectory data extraction was accomplished using a software platform suite. During each experiment session, some participants were randomly selected and asked to complete a questionnaire assessing their walking experience. Using both trajectory and survey data sources, this study explored how a heterogeneous mix of pedestrians perceive and evaluate operational performance of walking facilities. Specifically, an ordered statistical approach was applied to investigate effects of environmental density on pedestrians’ perceptions. Results indicated that individuals with disabilities were less tolerant of extreme congested environments. Furthermore, analysis showed that the LOS criteria provided in HCM is inadequate in quantifying service performance of walking facilities based on the actual perceptions of individuals participated in the controlled experiment. The findings are expected to improve operational guidelines used to assess walking facility performance.

ID Number

TRCLC 15-12