Walkway Network Modeling and Analysis



Please note: this page was last updated in June, 2016. The Walkway Network Modeling effort is no longer active, but this page is preserved as an archive of the groundbreaking work that was achieved from 2011 to 2016.

Walkway Network Analysis Flow Diagram (PDF)

2011 Paper: Pedestrian Network Analysis Tool (PDF)

2015 Presentation: Latest Advances in Walkway Network Modeling and Analysis (PDF)

2016 Oregon Walks slideshow on pilot project for groundtruthing the walkway network: Growing Transit Communities Community Mapping Walk (PDF)

Ellen says, "Many thanks to Scott Parker, Chad Tucker, April Bertelsen, Neil Lohlein, Kirk McEwen, Kevin Martin, Noel Mickelberry, Alan Gunn, Travis Driessen, Buff Brown, and all those whose work and scrutiny have contributed to our understanding of this new body of work."

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What is the walkway network?

Why make a model of it?
What analysis can be done with a walkway network model?
What tools are available for walkway network modeling and analysis?

A flowchart diagram showing how the walkway network is created and maintained, and how it can then be used in a "what-if" loop

Q. What is the walkway network?
A. The walkway network comprises all the public ways available for pedestrian transportation: sidewalks along streets, shortcuts and paths through parks, and—most importantly—crosswalks.

Q. Why make a model of the walkway network?
A. No other network utility (such as sewers or water) is as poorly modeled as the walkway network. An accurate model of the walkway network for any city can be used for multiple purposes, including analysis and routing.

Q. What analysis can be done with a walkway network model?
A. Walkway network analysis tools can be used to measure walking access, which in turn can inform decisions about what projects will promote the greatest increase in walking access.

Q. Why care about walking access?
A. Access is about the walkway network as utility rather than as amenity. In the utility model we assume 100% demand for walking access. That doesn’t mean everyone will walk, it just means every household should have access to walk to important destinations—just as every household should have access to clean running water.

Q. Can the model reflect the real world experience of difficult street crossings?
A. For the walkway network model to accurately represent the real world, it’s essential to weight each modeled segment with an impedance value to reflect the difficulty of traversing the real segment. (Ironically, the word impedance comes from a Latin root meaning “to hinder the foot.”)

Q. What tools are available for walkway network modeling and analysis?
A. Scott Parker developed several tools for use with ArcGIS that automate the process of creating a walkway network model from existing centerline data and assign impedance to the model using attributes like speed, number of lanes, traffic control, and presence or absence of sidewalk pavement. He also developed an integer routing engine that allows for analysis in a few seconds. [2020 note: these tools are no longer being maintained or made available]

The Walkway Network Analysis Tools:

  1. Allow for quantitative measure of pedestrian access—in minutes!
  2. Produce realistic walksheds around destinations
  3. Provide a simple way to test the walkability impact of any transportation project
  4. Can be used to prioritize proposed pedestrian improvement projects