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FHWA Course on Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation

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Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the basic requirements for sidewalks.
  2. List locations where sidewalks are needed.
  3. Describe the elements that make up an inviting pedestrian space.





Ask the class to report on the place they identified as a "pedestrian space." Have them explain what are the design elements that make that location a pleasant space for pedestrians.


Present and explain the three lesson goals listed above (V-13-1).

Information Presentation:



Information Sequence

Outline the presentation of the lecture (V-13-2).


Discuss the requirements for basic sidewalks (V-13-3 and V-13-4).

Explain where sidewalks should be provided (V-13-5).

Describe the design elements that make up a pleasant pedestrian space (V-13-6 and V-13-7).


Show examples (e.g., slides, videotape) of the different, well-done pedestrian areas.

Student Participation:




Use one of the activities provided in the Student's Guide.


Provide comment and feedback to the class as appropriate.





Assign reading for Lesson 14.

Ask the students to find examples of poorly signed and marked pedestrian areas. Have them draw a sketch that highlights some of the problems at the location.


Provide a summary of Lesson 13 (V-13-8).


Ask the students to complete the exercise at the end of Lesson 13 in their workbooks. This exercise is reprinted below for your convenience.

13.7 Exercise: Design a Pedestrian Space

Part 1

Choose an existing public space that currently does not encourage walking and redesign it to better accommodate pedestrians. Your plan should be developed at a conceptual level. You should prepare a plan view drawing with enough information to identify major existing features, proposed improvements, and impacts. Profile and cross-section view drawings are also helpful in presenting particular details required to construct your proposed improvements. Aerial photographs and U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps often provide a good background for overlaying proposed improvements

Part 2

Conduct a pedestrian capacity analysis for the Piedmont Park case study location (as described in Exercise 3.8 of Lesson 3) using procedures described in the Highway Capacity Manual. The four major park entrances, as indicated on the Site Location Map, should be evaluated to determine the pedestrian level of service (LOS). In order to conduct this evaluation, the following assumptions should be utilized

  • Expand 15-minute pedestrian counts included in the park usage data to represent hourly volumes.

  • All of the pedestrian volume at each of the four entrances accesses the park on existing 5-foot-wide feet wide sidewalks.

Utilize and document other assumptions as necessary in order to conduct the LOS analysis. Be sure to evaluate the sensitivity of values related to your assumptions

Determine the existing level of service for pedestrians at the four major park entrances. Do the sidewalks need to be widened? In addition, evaluate pedestrian level of service under the following scenarios:

  • Average weekday pedestrian traffic is anticipated to double in 5 years, will 5-foot-wide sidewalks be adequate?

  • Special events will generate pedestrian volumes five times those measured for an average weekday.

Solution Commentary

Part 1

This plan could be developed using overlays on an existing map or aerial photograph in association with enlarged details of special areas of interest. Typical construction details and section views should be used to augment the plan view layout. Choosing case study locations where students can thoroughly review the site during field review visits will greatly enhance the value of this exercise.

Part 2

Lesson Objectives:

Lesson Outline:

Requirements for Basic Sidewalks:

Requirements for Basic Sidewalks (continued):

Where Sidewalks Should Be Provided:

Design Elements That Make Up a Pleasant Pedestrian Space:

Design Elements That Make Up a Pleasant Pedestrian Space (continued):

Lesson Summary:


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Page last modified on February 1, 2013.
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