Use Measurable Performance Indicators in Pedestrian Policies

Measurable performance indicators are crucial elements of evaluating the effectiveness of a policy. Policies should specify goals and objectives for each initiative and create a set of indicators, or performance measures, that can be tracked to assess the effectiveness of that initiative. A monitoring program should also set a regular schedule for data collection and assessment. Typical performance measures include pedestrian counts, crash data, retail vacancy rates or retail revenue, vehicle speeds along identified corridors, and the quantity and quality of walking infrastructure such as sidewalks and ramps.

  • Performance measures should be:
    • Quantitative and objective
    • Supported by substantial evidence
    • Clearly linked to plans and priorities
    • Easy to collect data for, calculate, and interpret
    • Linked to mitigation
  • Each performance measure needs:
    • A starting-point measurement with which to compare future data
    • A desired trend line, or direction of the desired outcome for each performance measure, to judge the amount of progress made towards meeting a stated goal
  • Evaluations should be scheduled at continual, regular intervals
  • Documents policy benefits and areas for improvement
  • Justifies continued or altered funding levels
  • Guides policy makers
  • Lack of standardized data-collection methods and insufficient data
  • Lack of standardized evaluation methods and tools to measure performance indicators
  • Finding appropriate and consistent evaluation and data-collecting techniques
Where to Use It
  • Municipal pedestrian master plans
  • Sustainable streets policies
  • Environmental and climate-change policies
Professional Consensus
  • Recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • A 2011 ITE Informational Report recommends performance measures for policies that affect walkability beyond the field of transportation, such as:
    • Land use
    • Public health
    • Livability
    • Sustainability
    • Economics

Examples Plans incorporating monitoring systems and performance measures include:

This material is the product of a partnership between America Walks and Sam Schwartz Engineering. Visit here for more information on the partnership.