Quantifying Accessibility of Nonmotorized Transportation Modes in Recreational Areas: Case Study of Mill Creek Canyon, Utah

Authors

  • Ivana Tasic University of Utah
  • Anusha Musunuru University of Utah
  • Richard J. Porter University of Utah

Keywords:

nonmotorized transportation, performance measurements, accessibility for nonmotorized transportation modes

Abstract

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Multimodal transportation is encouraged in recreational areas, particularly nonmotorized modes that provide people with the opportunity to be physically active while sustaining the natural environment. Accessibility emerges as a relevant indicator of the quality of transportation performance, especially related to nonmotorized modes, because it addresses how transportation solutions are tailored to their contexts. This study develops an accessibility measurement framework for pedestrians and bicyclists in parks and recreation areas, and applies it to the recreational area in Mill Creek Canyon, Utah, one of Salt Lake City’s most popular recreational destinations. The goal of the study is to demonstrate how accessibility measurements can be defined and implemented as indicators of transportation system performance by recreational managers interested in gaining a more complete picture of existing conditions from a multimodal perspective and, if necessary, assessing possible multimodal transportation improvement alternatives. Data collection activities utilized canyon maps, a site visit, Google Earth, and geographic information systems. Potential origins and destinations for pedestrians and bicyclists were mapped in Arc Map. Proposed accessibility performance measures were applied to the Mill Creek Canyon case study using Google Earth again for distance measurements. Pedestrian and bicyclists requirements in terms of path width, speed, and acceptable travel time were adopted from existing transportation policies and guidelines. Accessibility was quantified using performance measures such as percentage of destinations reachable from each origin within a given distance, percentage of destinations reachable from each origin within a given time frame, percentage of origins leading to each destination within a given distance, percentage of origins leading to each destination within a given time frame, percentage of spatially accessible destinations, and percentage of temporally accessible destinations. Decision makers can further use these measures to properly evaluate quality of service for pedestrians and bicyclists, as they are broadly applicable to recreation areas of different sizes and flexible enough to grow into accessibility guidelines with further research expansion.

Author Biographies

Ivana Tasic, University of Utah

Ivana Tasic is a PhD candidate at the Department of Civil and Environmental Enginnering, University of Utah.

Anusha Musunuru, University of Utah

Anusha Musunuru is a Masters candidate at the Department of Civil and Environmental Enginnering, University of Utah.

Richard J. Porter, University of Utah

Dr. Richard J. Porter is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Civil and Environmental Enginnering, University of Utah. Dr. Porter has over ten years of experience in transportation research and higher education gained primarily through his current position at the University of Utah, as well as previous positions at the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) and Pennsylvania Transportation Institute (PTI).  He conducts research in highway and street design, road safety, traffic operations, and highway project development.  He has published over 40 papers and research reports in these areas and has delivered technical presentations in the U.S. and abroad.   Dr. Porter currently teaches the University of Utah’s Civil Engineering courses in Transportation Engineering, Highway Design, Transportation Safety, Highway and Traffic Engineering, and Statistical and Econometric Analysis.

Published

2014-08-20

Issue

Section

Regular Papers