Pedestrian Level of Service (PLOS) analysis provides a quantitative evaluation of pedestrian sidewalks and crosswalks. The newest version of the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) 2010 has incorporated a broader range of factors into the PLOS model, which also take into account traveler perceptions. Recognizing locations where PLOS is low can help professionals and decision makers identify problem areas, which aid in determining where to effectively allocate limited funds to the most promising improvement options and evaluate different improvement types. In addition, PLOS scores provide results in a grading system that may be easily understood by the general public. While many benefits exist, PLOS analysis is computationally intensive requiring many inputs from traffic counts to field measurements. Calculating PLOS scores for multiple crosswalks and sidewalks is difficult and time consuming. Simplifying and automating this process while maintaining the scope requires a tool that can be user friendly and provide a systematic approach that reduces processing time.
This presentation will report on the methodology used to create a spatial database of PLOS scores for all Calgary downtown crosswalks and sidewalks using GIS geoprocessing tools. In this case study I will discuss how GIS can perform automation of complex analysis and calculations using Model Builder and Python scripting. Then I will show how aerial photographs can eliminate the requirement for field measurements. Lastly, I will discuss how this geographic data is managed and how this information is presented to both technical and non-technical audiences. The goal here is to showcase how powerful GIS is and to provide insight into how it can offer consistency and facilitate repetition for large scale data analysis projects. This approach demonstrates the importance of this tool in transportation planning, and most importantly how it can help improve the decision making process while maximizing efficiency.