In the last decade there has been a national trend toward projects that involve roadway space reallocation across modes. Many of these projects may include road diets and are typically very controversial when automobile travel lanes and/or curbside parking are proposed for removal.
Cities and federal agencies typically evaluate roadway changes utilizing level of service measures. Traditional level of service (LOS) for automobile traffic is based on travel time and congestion levels. New measures for evaluating street performance for non-automobile modes including transit service, bicyclists and pedestrians have been proposed recently but a recent review indicates that these measures may not be sensitive or useful in their application for non-motorized modes. Safety impacts can also play a decisive role in roadway reallocation projects. However, economic analyses are ordinarily not performed.
This research reviews before and after multimodal performance of several roadway reallocation projects. Planners and decision makers lack a consistent framework to evaluate costs and benefits of non-motorized facilities. While the construction cost of new pedestrian and bicycle facilities or roadway allocations is relatively easy to estimate, the evaluation of the resulting benefits is typically not straightforward and usually has a high degree of uncertainty. In addition, some benefits are achieved in the long-term, e.g. property values or reduction of crashes, and data availability is usually a significant constraint.
The goal of this research is to provide methodologies to better evaluate investments in transportation infrastructure that support non-motorized modes and livable communities. By carefully reviewing the existing literature and recent roadway reallocation projects in Portland, this research will develop strategies to plan for before and after data collection efforts and propose methodologies to evaluate non-motorized facility improvements. Lessons learned from recent roadway reallocation projects will be documented as well as best practices to tackle multimodal and economic evaluations within the typical data, budget, and time availability constraints.