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FHWA Home / Safety / Pedestrian & Bicycle / Guide for Maintaining Pedestrian Facilities for Enhanced Safety Research Report

Guide for Maintaining Pedestrian Facilities for Enhanced Safety Research Report

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October 22, 2013

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

1. Report No. 
2. Government Accession 
3. Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle 
Guide for Maintaining Pedestrian Facilities for Enhanced Safety Research Report
5. Report Date 
October 2013
6. Performing Organization Code
Tom Huber, Kevin Luecke, Michael Hintze, Virginia Coffman, Jennifer Toole, Matt VanOosten
8. Performing Organization Report No.
9. Performing Organization Name and Address 
Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. (VHB) 
8300 Boone Blvd., Suite 700
Vienna, VA 22182-2626
10. Work Unit No.
11. Contract or Grant No.
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address 
Federal Highway Administration Office of Safety
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20590
13. Type of Report and Period 
14. Sponsoring Agency Code
15. Supplementary Notes

The contract manager for this report was Tamara Redmon (FHWA Office of Safety). The project team gratefully acknowledges the input provided by the report and guide’s panel of experts. These panel members are:

  • Paula Reeves, Washington Department of Transportation, Olympia, WA
  • Sean Harbaugh, Columbia Association, Columbia, MD
  • Donna Gardino, Fairbanks MPO, Fairbanks, AK
  • Mike O’Meara, Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
  • Tom Fischer, City of Tuscon, Arizona
  • Arthur Ross, City of Madison, WI
  • Mary Anne Koos, Florida DOT-Roadway Design Office, Tallahassee, FL
  • Marni Ratzel, City of Boulder, CO.
  • Kevin Farrington, City of Plattsburgh, New York
  • Dan Bauer, City of Minneapolis, MN
  • Yon Lambert, City of Alexandria, VA

Melissa Anderson of the U.S. Access Board, Washington D.C. is acknowledged for both her participation on the panel and for her tireless assistance and guidance on accessibility issues. FHWA staff members who provided initial and on-going direction include Gabe Rousseau, Candace Groudine, Jody McCullough, Brooke Struve, Michelle Noch, Kristie Johnson, Hillary Isebrands, and Peter Eun.

Images were provided by Toole Design Group, City of Charlotte, City of Ithaca, and panel members Paula Reeves, Tom Fisher, Melissa Anderson, and Sean Harbaugh.

16. Abstract 
A Guide for Maintaining Pedestrian Facilities for Enhanced Safety provides guidance for maintaining pedestrian facilities with the primary goal of increasing safety and mobility. The Guide addresses the needs for pedestrian facility maintenance; common maintenance issues; inspection, accessibility, and compliance; maintenance measurers; funding; and construction techniques to reduce future maintenance.

17. Key Words: 
pedestrian, facility, maintenance, sidewalk, path, crosswalk, signal, funding, repair, concrete, asphalt, safety, accessibility, access, patching, curb ramps, ADA, hazard, crack, inspection
18. Distribution Statement 
19. Security Classif. (of this report) Unclassified 20. Security Classif. (of this page) Unclassified 21. No. of Pages
22. Price

Table of Contents

List of Figures
1. State of the Practice Research: Summary of Findings
  1.1 Introduction
  1.2 Literature Review
    1.2.1 National Guidance and Policy
    1.2.2 State Guidance and Policy
    1.2.3 Local Guidance and Policy
    1.2.4 Other Related Research and Resources
  1.3 Best Available Resources
    1.3.1 Maintenance Responsibility and Liability
    1.3.2 Winter Maintenance
    1.3.3 Sidewalk Repair and Replacement
    1.3.4 Inspection, Assessment and Reporting
    1.3.5 Compliance and Enforcement
    1.3.6 Vegetation Management
    1.3.7 Public Awareness and Social Marketing
    1.3.8 Gaps in Existing Guidance
  1.4 NCHRP 07-17 maintenance-related survey questions
    1.4.1 NCHRP 07-17 Survey: Analysis of Findings
  1.5 Agency Discussions
    1.5.1 Maintenance program staffing, and structure
    1.5.2 Funding
    1.5.3 Sidewalk Repair and Inspection
    1.5.4 Sidewalk Replacement
    1.5.5 Shared-use Paths
    1.5.6 Snow and Ice Removal
    1.5.7 Vegetation Trimming
    1.5.8 Sweeping, Debris and Leaf Removal
    1.5.9 Crosswalks
    1.5.10 Lighting
    1.5.11 Pedestrian Signals
    1.5.12 Prioritization
    1.5.13 Reporting and Performance Measures
    1.5.14 Communication
    1.5.15 Liability
2. Identification and Assessment of Common and Successful Practices
  2.1 Introduction
  2.2 Repair and Replacement of Sidewalks and Shared Use Paths
    2.2.1 Materials Used for Sidewalks and Shared Use Paths
    2.2.2 Causes of Sidewalk and Path Failures
    2.2.3 Inspection and Inventory
    2.2.4 Accessibility
    2.2.5 Surface Maintenance Practices
  2.3 Seasonal Maintenance of Sidewalks and Paths
    2.3.1 Vegetation Management and Removal
    2.3.2 Snow and Ice Removal
  2.4 Maintenance of Crosswalk Markings and Pedestrian Signals
    2.4.1 Marking Material
    2.4.2 Strategies for Maintaining Crosswalks
    2.4.3 Costs
  2.5 Pedestrian Signals
    2.5.1 Maintenance Issues and Response Time
  2.6 Funding
    2.6.1 Common Funding Sources
  2.7 Low-Maintenance Design
    2.7.1 Material Lifespans
    2.7.2 Sidewalk Failure
    2.7.3 Subgrade
    2.7.4 Pavement Thickness
    2.7.5 Drainage
    2.7.6 Control Joints and Scoring Patterns
    2.7.7 Curb Ramps & Detectable Warning Fields
    2.7.8 Street Trees
  2.8 Laws and Liability
    2.8.1 North Carolina
    2.8.2 New Hampshire
    2.8.3 California
    2.8.4 Wisconsin
List of Tables
Table 1: Criteria used to prioritize maintenance of pedestrian facilities
Table 2: Communities Participating in Discussions
Table 3: Relative comparison of various sidewalk materials
Table 4: Types of sidewalk deformations
Table 5: Descriptions and photos of common sidewalk problems in Corralville, Iowa
Table 6: Descriptions and pictures of common sidewalk defects in Oregon, Ohio
Table 7: City of Boston fines for non-compliant snow removal
Table 8: Relative comparison of crosswalk marking materials
List of Figures
Figure 1: Work setting
Figure 2: Population of the service area
Figure 3: Weighting criteria for prioritization of maintenance of pedestrian facilities
Figure 4: Formalized process for prioritizing maintenance of pedestrian facilities
Figure 5: Sufficient process for prioritizing maintenance of pedestrian facilities
Figure 6: Use of process for prioritizing maintenance of pedestrian facilities
Figure 7: Frequency of use of the process for prioritizing maintenance of pedestrian facilities
Figure 8: Replacement of curb ramps
Figure 9: Vegetation trimming
Figure 10: Vegetation trimming by property owners
Figure 11: Crosswalk marking materials
Figure 12: Maintenance of lighting
Figure 13: Factors to prioritize pedestrian facility maintenance
Figure 14: Performance measures
Figure 15: Pedestrian safety benchmarks
Figure 16: Citizen involvement in identifying pedestrian maintenance problems


The objective of this report is to document common and effective approaches and practices for pedestrian facility maintenance, as well as identify and support those topic areas where additional guidance would be valuable for agencies engaged in pedestrian facility maintenance. The information in this report will be used to inform the development of a comprehensive pedestrian facility maintenance guide that addresses a wide range of topic areas regarding maintenance policies, programs, and practices.

This report consists of two chapters. Chapter 1 presents a summary of relevant literature, e.g. design and maintenance manuals, documented policies and practices, and related reports and research, which were reviewed to identify existing guidance available at the federal, state, and local levels. Chapter 1 also includes a summary of discussions that were conducted with over 40 agencies as a means to understand and document common and successful practices and challenges to pedestrian facility maintenance.

Chapter 2 provides an expanded discussion of routine and successful practices and provides detailed examples of the latter. Topics covered include state laws and local ordinances, enforcement or compliance efforts, inventory and inspection of facilities, funding, repair techniques, seasonal maintenance, maintenance of crosswalk markings and pedestrian signals, low maintenance design and maintenance equipment.

Findings presented in this research report will be used to inform the development of the Guide for Maintaining Pedestrian Facilities for Enhanced Safety, the final product of this research effort.

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Page last modified on February 1, 2013
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