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Pedestrian Level of Traffic Stress

Project Description

Many of the existing methods to evaluate the suitability of pedestrian or bicyclist travel along roadway segments or crossing roadways require a large number of inputs, some of which are not available in typical roadway inventory data (e.g., on-street parking coverage, heavy vehicle proportion), making them impractical for most agencies to apply. Some of these methods also require statistical modeling expertise or specialized software to run. Occasionally, their outputs do not make intuitive sense. For these and other reasons, Bicycle Level of Traffic Stress (BLTS), a table-based framework from the Mineta Transportation Institute, has become a popular tool to assess roadway suitability for bicycling in the last decade. However, a similar Pedestrian Level of Service (PLTS) tool has not been established. The few table-based PLTS methods available today have been applied by separate agencies and use different inputs.


This project will create a well-researched, standardized version of a table-based, Pedestrian Level of Traffic Stress (PLTS) tool. It will incorporate many of the most important and easy-to-collect roadway factors associated with pedestrian suitability from a) existing pedestrian suitability methods and b) the pedestrian safety literature.


As done for the BLTS in 2012, the research team will produce a final technical report that includes a description of the PLTS method. This report will include PLTS tables and example PLTS maps from communities where the method has been tested. The final report will include recommendations for further research, particularly for additional data collection, since future improvements to the method are likely to depend on the availability of more detailed roadway data.


Since local pedestrian transportation experts will be involved in reviewing the PLTS tables and maps, technology transfer will start while the PLTS method is still under development. We will continue tech transfer of the PLTS method by posting the report and including an example PLTS application spreadsheet on the CPBS UTC website. We will also share the tables and maps with the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, Institute of Transportation Engineers, State DOT Pedestrian and Bicycle Coordinators, and other professional network e-mail lists, and present the tool to at least two major conference audiences.


Finally, the PLTS method will be taught in the UWM Urban Planning Department graduate Pedestrian & Bicycle Transportation course and in the Civil and Environmental Engineering undergraduate Urban Transportation Planning course and graduate Methods of Transportation Analysis course.


06/01/2023 to 05/31/2024


University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Principal Investigator

Robert J. Schneider

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

ORCID: 0000-0002-6225-3615

Research Project Funding

Federal: $26,430

Non-Federal: $11,558

Contract Number


Project Number


Research Priority

Promoting Safety

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