We All Want the Same Thing Results from a Roadway Design Survey of Pedestrians, Drivers, Bicyclists, and Transit Users in the Bay Area


Pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers, and public transit users all desire similar roadway design features, at least according to findings from a recent intercept survey of 537 people along a major urban corridor in the San Francisco Bay Area. This research was sponsored by the California Department of Transportation to understand traveler preferences for street design that could increase perceived traffic safety, walkability, and bikability along urban arterials, as well as encourage economic vitality through increased patronage of local businesses. In an open-ended question about street improvements to enhance perceived traffic safety, all respondent groups requested the same top five improvements. Bicycle lanes were ranked first by pedestrians, drivers, and bicyclists (fifth by public transit respondents), and improved pedestrian crossings were ranked second by pedestrians, drivers, and public transit users (third by bicyclists). The remaining top five elements, while the same for all groups, were ordered slightly differently among them: slowing traffic/improving driver behavior, installing more traffic lights, and increasing the amount of street lighting. Similar preference alignment was found in response to a question about street improvements to encourage more visits to the corridor. These findings suggest that design features generally thought to benefit one user group, such as bicycle lanes, may have unmeasured benefits for other user groups. Moreover, they offer evidence that focusing solely on specific user groups in the design process may miss opportunities to benefit multiple user groups through prioritizing a few design ideas. Overall, the findings support the continued implementation of Caltrans’ Complete Streets policy.

Cooper, Jill F.
Publication date: 
April 1, 2012
Publication type: 
Technical Report