Drivers, Pedestrians, and Cyclists in California Want Complete Streets: Comparison of Results from Roadway Design Surveys of Pedestrians, Drivers, Bicyclists, and Transit Users in Northern and Southern California


This paper compares findings from two recent surveys on roadway design preferences among pedestrians, drivers, bicyclists, and public transit users along major urban corridors in the metro areas of San Francisco and Los Angeles. Sponsored by the California Department of Transportation (DOT), the research explored design preferences that could increase perceived traffic safety, walkability, bikability, and economic vitality along urban arterials. Results from intercept surveys showed that roadway users desire similar design features along the test corridors, which carry 25,000-40,000 motorists bi-directionally and have comprehensive sidewalk coverage, but little to no on-street bicycle facilities. In response to an open-ended question about street improvements to enhance perceived traffic safety, Bay Area respondents ranked bicycle lanes and improved pedestrian crossings first and second overall, while respondents in the Los Angeles area ranked them in reverse order. Decreased speed was ranked third in the Bay Area, and 5th 13" in the LA area. Other top suggestions included increasing street lighting, traffic signals, and stop signs in the Bay Area, and better maintained roads and increased travel space in the LA area. These findings add to the growing body of evidence that design features generally deemed beneficial to one user group, such as pedestrian crossings for pedestrians, may also benefit other users. Moreover, these results suggest that roadway planning can implement a few key design interventions to enhance the travel experience of multiple user groups. Overall, the findings support the continued implementation of complete streets principles and policies.

Publication date: 
January 1, 2014
Publication type: 
Conference Paper