An assessment of pedestrian infrastructure quality and the effect on travel time and mobility for users with physical limitations
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The purpose of this thesis is to analyze the potential effect that pedestrian infrastructure ADA compliance issues may have on persons with disabilities or physical limitations. Pedestrian infrastructure was inventoried and compliance issues were assessed in Midtown, Atlanta using the Sidewalk Sentry and Sidewalk Scout applications. Pedestrian infrastructure inspection data for the Midtown network were compared to ADA design standards and sidewalk sections were assigned an overall compliance value. Using the ADA compliance issues, travel-time impedance values were assigned to each sidewalk and ramp element that comprise the pedestrian infrastructure in Midtown. Five sets of travel time impedance values were assigned to the infrastructure, where travel time impedance values were assigned using historical rankings of the most problematic sidewalk barriers according to disabled persons. Using Network Analyst in ArcGIS, the shortest paths were calculated between 500 random origins and destinations before and after assigning issues a travel time impedance value. The results of the analysis indicate that while current pedestrian infrastructure may meet the needs of able-bodied users, the infrastructure limits the mobility of persons with disabilities. The findings show that pedestrian infrastructure that is in disrepair increases the average travel time and length of travel for persons with disabilities. Noncompliant pedestrian infrastructure also prohibits disabled persons from making approximately one fourth of the trips that an able-bodied person can make in Midtown, Atlanta.