Performance Measures for Complete, Green Streets: Initial Findings for Pedestrian Safety along a California Corridor


This paper reports on research conducted by the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center and sponsored by the California Department of Transportation (“Caltrans”) to establish performance measures for pedestrian and bicycle safety and mobility along urban arterials. Although historically focused on motorized vehicle mobility, Caltrans has recently joined in a national trend to incorporate non-motorized transportation and community-level outcomes into transportation decision-making frameworks, an approach known as "Complete Streets." Recognizing that its current performance measurement system does not reflect this shift, Caltrans worked with researchers at the University of California, Berkeley to create new measures that more accurately gauge its progress toward these objectives. This paper discusses a field test of the validity and ease of application of the proposed performance measures for pedestrian safety. The test corridor was San Pablo Avenue, a 9.5-mile, multi-jurisdictional State Route in Northern California. While the researchers developed the performance measures based on a broad literature and best-practice review, the field-test determined that most of the initial performance measures for pedestrian safety require adjustments to improve validity and facilitate their broad adoption by Caltrans. This paper demonstrates the value of small-scale field-testing of performance measures before their adoption, particularly for subject areas with little institutional measurement history, like pedestrian and bicyclist safety and mobility. The paper concludes with discussion of the next steps of the performance measures development process and future research on the topic.

Publication date: 
January 1, 2011
Publication type: 
Technical Report