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Title:Where the Sidewalks End: Evaluating Pedestrian Infrastructure and Equality
Authors:Nicholas Coppola, Wesley E. Marshall, and Bruce Janson
University:University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:Oct 2021
Report #:MPC-21-441
Project #:MPC-579
TRID #:01789507
Keywords:cities, demographics, equity (justice), remote sensing, sidewalks, spatial analysis



Academic literature has scant research on sidewalks, and some cities are lacking information to rectify an unprecedented backlog of deteriorating pedestrian infrastructure. A lack of data stymies efforts to understand sidewalks, how they may impact equity, and how cities can prioritize where to begin to rectify these issues. Remote sensing data are beginning to increase the prevalence and accuracy of sidewalk infrastructure data. In this report, we leverage these advances in remote sensing to bridge the data and research gap on pedestrian infrastructure in cities.

In Part 1, we analyze city-scale sidewalk availability, width, and land coverage calculated from spatial data from aerial imagery (planimetrics). In Part 2, we examine planimetric sidewalk data to evaluate relationships between the provision of sidewalk infrastructure and the socioeconomic status and sociodemographics of residents across 16 cities. The Part 1 results show an overall deficiency of sidewalks and indicate that deriving sidewalk availability and average width are feasible at the city scale. In Part 2, we show that sidewalk availability had an inconsistent relationship to income, depending on the city. As for sociodemographics, non-white residents generally had wider sidewalks and greater availability.

With a growing interest in active modes of transportation, and cities facing limited resources, this research helps bridge a much-needed gap in sidewalk infrastructure research and planning.

How to Cite

Coppola, Nicholas, Wesley E. Marshall, and Bruce Janson. Where the Sidewalks End: Evaluating Pedestrian Infrastructure and Equality, MPC-21-441. North Dakota State University - Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, Fargo: Mountain-Plains Consortium, 2021.

NDSU Dept 2880P.O. Box 6050Fargo, ND 58108-6050